"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction." NASB
Why is the fear of God the beginning of knowledge, and the beginning of wisdom (Pr. 9:10), and the instruction for wisdom (Pr. 15:33)?
What is wisdom, anyway?
Wisdom is skill for living.
Contrary to popular belief, you are stuck being a human (not a dragon, for instance), and as a human you were created for certain purposes. Wisdom teaches us to do a good job living this life -a good job fulfilling our purpose. How can we do a good job at living, if we refuse to acknowledge the one who created us, designed us, and gave us our purpose?
The fear of God includes: belief, fear, awe, respect, and worship. If we want to be skilled at living, we must believe in, and believe, the one who designed life. We must fear him enough to obey his instructions. A "skill for living" is evident in so many arenas of life. It shows up in relationships; family life; stewardship of time, money, or property; at work; and in our every decision, especially the small ones.
Here's the rub: God has given us instructions for many areas of life, and principles relevant to many others. More general still, if we view this life in his terms, most other things fall into place as well. Do you want to live with skill? Approach life on the terms of the creator.
The fool, on the other hand, is an atheist. He wants to be his own authority for life and living. He makes up his own purpose: he is the original existentialist, despising any and all authority on his life, or definitions and limitations on who he is supposed to be.
Thus: fools despise wisdom and instruction.
As the Proverbs make clear, the foolish life is filled with heartache, poverty, relational turmoil, and more. How much sweeter to live with skill; to find shalom. Wisdom begins with a simple recognition: there is a creator, and he has spoken.
As we enter this new month, let's keep our ears and hearts open to his instruction. Let's fear God, and thus live well.
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