THE BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE
Date: July 21
Category: Wisdom and Understanding
"The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline."
Of all the Biblical literary genres, the book of Proverbs is part of the wisdom literatures. Other wisdom literatures in the Bible include the book of Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and the book of Job. But in the book of Proverbs, there is a broad range of meanings for the word, "wisdom." It covers a variety of topics concerning wisdom, such as practical knowledge of what is good and evil, common affairs of life, how to discern what is true and false, what's needed for us to succeed in life, etc. Proverbs gives us a real understanding of wisdom and how wisdom helps us succeed both with man and with God.
This verse in the first chapter describes the gateway to wisdom. It's the most important verse to understand before we try to explore all the depths of wisdom. It says, "The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge." That means that the fear of God is the starting point and the essence of knowledge. Then it says, "but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom." So anyone who rejects godly wisdom is a fool, regardless of whether they are a believer or non-believer. Whenever you rebel against God's instruction, you are acting like a fool. You cannot gain God's wisdom if you aren't living godly.
So if we want to have wisdom and knowledge, we need to have the fear of God. Fearing God means loving and respecting Him. That fear is not a frightful fear that prevents us from coming to God. That fear is a love for God. Because we love God, we're not going to do things that are displeasing to Him; instead we are going to do the things that honor and please Him. When we do, that is when we will have knowledge.
Let's look at the example of a father and his children. His children should have a reverent fear for him. They should know that after Jesus and after his wife, they are the most precious things to him. He would do anything for his children. Because they know their father loves them, they reverently love him back. When they need something, they can depend on him. Even when they just want to be with their dad, he is there. Because the children have a healthy fear of their father, they will obey what he says. When daddy says, "Don't do that," they will listen. Because they listen, the father will naturally want to bless his children.
That's the relationship between an earthly father and his children, and it's a reflection of the relationship between our Heavenly Father and us. If we reverently and worshipfully fear God, then we will do everything God tells us to do and stay away from all the things that He tells us to stay away from. That's what it means to have the fear of God. When we have that love and respect for God, then He will bless us. According to this passage, that blessing will come to us in the form of knowledge because it says that the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge.
So that type of fear is the beginning, the principle and the choice part of knowledge, and the knowledge here is experiential knowledge. It's not just intellectual knowledge, which are things that we know because we read and study. This is experiential knowledge, meaning things that we know from our own experiences. Experiential knowledge embraces far more than just head knowledge. That's the kind of knowledge we receive when we have reverent and worshipfully fear of the Lord.
So the beginning of wisdom is really in our hearts. When our hearts are filled with the fear of God and we have a personal relationship with the Lord, then we will have wisdom and knowledge. So today, let's check our hearts and make sure our hearts are right before God. Let's make sure we live a life that is God-fearing because through that, we will gain knowledge.