|Volume 21 Number 8 August 2019||
The Beginning of Wisdom
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” This is one of my favorite proverbs because not only does it tell us about the majesty of God but also of the great value in learning. There are many who would seek to replace the wisdom of the Word of God with the ignorance of the prideful. These people would seek to replace God as the supreme being with themselves or another lesser, imagined power. These people are described as fools in Psalm 14:1.
In the Holy Scriptures, we find the true source of knowledge: our mighty God. The “fear” mentioned in the verse is not the kind of which we immediately think in English, which is a “terror.” Rather, as the Pulpit Commentary says of “terror” here, it means “to fear or reverence,” which is a “holy fear.” It is a fear by which we are afraid to offend God…that fear of Jehovah which is elsewhere described as “to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13). This fear or fear to offend God is the beginning of true wisdom, for if we keep God and His will, and use that as our motivation, we will surely prosper in our lives.
God is the source of all reality and, therefore, of all that is good and all that we should desire to know. However, we are told of those who don’t want to know the path of a God-centered knowledge. A great many people have decided that, for whatever reason, to hate God is the beginning of wisdom. Atheism has little to offer its believer except that of a moral-free environment, in which a person can indulge in whatever he or she wants without fear of consequences. In this respect, it sounds very much like old fashioned idolatry where worshipers made gods to suit their own desires. This kind of belief offers its follower only a cold grave and a meaningless universe, which they think comes from nothing, becomes nothing and offers only sorrow.
It’s no wonder the Holy Bible describes those who adhere to such godless doctrines as fools. The Proverbs are full of wise sayings and deep thoughts. They encourage us and admonish us, and in Proverbs 1, we learn where to begin, by acknowledging the simple truth that God is.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefit…” (Psalm 103:1-2). For whatever reason that David had experienced in his life, he was moved to write this beautiful Psalm (of course, guided by the Holy Spirit). His heart was overflowing with the need of blessing the Lord for all that God had done for him. Should we not possess the same kind of heart as David? Consider all that the Lord has done for us physically and especially spiritually. All the perfect and good gifts come from God (James 1:18). His Son, Jesus Christ, died for us on Calvary’s cross so that we could be forgiven by His precious blood (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7).
I want to encourage our brethren who lead our minds in prayers during our worship assemblies to include expressions of praise and gratitude for all that God has done and is doing for us. It is sad to note there are times when prayers are led wherein brethren fail to express thanks for God’s grace, mercy, love, lovingkindness and His longsuffering. How can this be? Petitions, supplications and intercessions are expressed; however, there is a great need of our expressions of gratitude (1 Timothy 2:1; Philippians 4:6) in our prayers! Let us “enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name, For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:4-5).