We are surrounded by information. Everything is just a Google search away, yet there is not a lot of knowledge. We even have ‘alternative facts’. It’s trivia rather than connected.
Do you have information as a small bit of data, or is it connected on a bigger scale as knowledge? Where do you get knowledge?
Where do I start?
I’m in an online class now that has me reading Proverbs eight times, every time I do I have to highlight verses that apply to different situations. Situations like a crisis, marriage, money, grief, etc. I love it. Proverbs is my favorite book—filled with powerful one-liners that are incredibly deep.
The book of Proverbs begins and is based on one underlying theme, the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 1:7 reads, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
What’s that mean? Let’s take it apart.
What is fear?
It’s an emotion triggered by the potential for or by danger, pain, negative consequences of an action, and the unknown. It also comes in the forms of dread, nervousness, or unease.
You fear something because it’s dangerous or can hurt you. It has the capability to; if it didn’t have the power, then it doesn’t have the capability. Like a hummingbird compared to an eagle. A rabbit only has to worry about one of those.
Is fear bad?
It depends, some fear is for self-preservation. Then there’s the reverential, respectful fear of something that can kill you.
Think of interstate traffic. According to a 2016 Newsweek article, car accidents killed roughly 38,300 people and injured 4.4 million in 2015.
How about tigers? Would you treat one like a house cat? Why not?
“Fear of the Lord…”
Why fear God?
Think of that tiger again. Jesus is called the Lion of Judah. C.S Lewis’s Jesus archetype, Aslan, in the Chronicles of Narnia was said not to be safe.
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Consider this, a big enough bomb can atomize you. But your immaterial soul wouldn’t be destroyed. However, Jesus said this about God in Matthew 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
“…is the beginning of knowledge,”
How? Because it all starts with a Creator who set reality into place. He would know how it would work optimally.
To the Christian, God is our Father who knows what’s best to such a degree that he has 20/20 foresight. Like with our dads, we don’t want to disobey or bring shame on his name for fear of fatherly discipline and remorse.
An example, when I was a kid, I tried to steal a newspaper from someone’s yard. Their neighbor caught me and asked who my dad was. I didn’t want to put my dad in a bad light, so I gave them my stepdad’s name.
The healthy fear of his power and authority is a motivator to live according to God the Father’s ways. Another motivator is the sacrifice of God the Son, Jesus, for us. So we learn His ways that we can live by them, walk in dependence on them, and pay homage to Him. Like Jesus did.
What if I don’t accept that?
When a proverb has “but” in it, it’s contrasting the two statements. The “but” in “but fools despise wisdom and instruction” tell us what leads to being a fool according to God.
Contempt leads to it.
A fool is someone who feels contempt for guidance and instruction. They rarely or never make good decisions because they won’t listen, and lack wisdom’s experience and applied knowledge.
I’ve been a fool on more occasions than I care to count. One time I locked my keys in my truck. My solution was to break the window. My wife vetoed that, having me call a locksmith instead.
A perfect contrast of a foolish choice and a wise one.
How not to be a fool?
Fear the Lord. A fool rejects God’s guidance, having no fear of the One that set reality in place and created them, holding their lives in His hands. The height of foolishness.
Like telling a murderer he wouldn’t dare kill you.
But, when the fool realizes and acknowledges that God is God and they’re not; they’re at the beginning of wisdom.