The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I have developed healthy fears concerning several different people and things over the course of my lifetime. As I became older some of these fears such as the dark, neighborhood bullies, and girls somehow lost the control they once held over me. Other fears constantly rise up to take the place of previous ones. It may be learning to drive, leaving for college, or asking my girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage. With every fear that rears its ugly head (not that my father-in-law has an ugly head), I have discovered that it becomes extremely important to know as much about the fear as possible. In doing this I would either gain a very important respect for the fear or develop extensive measures to avoid it altogether.
In the case of the neighborhood bully, I learned his habits and schedule. Where does he get off the bus, what area of the neighborhood does he play in, how fast and for how long can he run? All of this was important information for me know if I was to be successful in avoiding both him and a bodily injury. On the other hand, I realized that it would not be possible or beneficial for me to avoid my girlfriend’s father before asking her to marry me. In light of this, I had to study different aspects of him. I wasn’t so much concerned about how fast he could run as I was about his love for Kristie and his like / dislike of myself. My fear of him led not to avoidance, but to a deeper understanding of who he was and what he stood for.
I ask you which one of these fears more closely resembles your approach to the Lord. When I read the words of King Solomon I have to believe that his fear of God more closely resembled my fear of Kristie’s dad than my fear of the neighborhood bully. This is why Solomon writes, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” I have several friends that grew up in the same church as I did. They were taught the same things that I was taught and they were introduced to the same God that was introduced to me. Today, we are spread across the country. Some of us run to God on a daily basis while others are running away from him.
The second part of verse 7 warns that, “Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” How do you respond to the greatness of the Lord? Have you turned to avoidance or to respect, to wisdom or to foolishness? I encourage you nto to look towards your heavenly Father as the neighborhood bully, avoiding Him at all cost so that your life may be “more pleasurable.” Instead, I ask you to study Him; make an effort to understand the values, morals, and instructions that He has set up for us in the Bible. Scripture promises that a healthy fear of the Lord will lead to wisdom.
For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them, and the complacency of fools shall destroy them. But he who listens to me shall be at ease from the dread of evil (Proverbs 1:33).