Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Beginning of Knowledge

A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:5-7

God provides us with precepts intended not merely to give us head knowledge, but also the skill to work out that knowledge in our lives.  Proverbs is filled with illustrations of divine truth put in such a way that we can appropriate and bring that truth into our lives and experiences.  In the Old Testament, "knowledge" means information or eternal truth. "Wisdom" refers to skill. If one is wise in knowing how to do something, he has skill in it.

There is a difference between having knowledge in our head and wisdom in our lives.  The mere bringing of divine knowledge and divine revelation into our minds is not enough.  Such knowledge is intended to be worked out in our lives in a way that will bring great harmony and blessing to our existence.

Proverbs opens with a very important statement concerning the seeking of wisdom…The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Proverbs 1:7a  Reverence is the first element needed to build a beautiful and pleasing life before God.  This reverence for God is pivotal in our lives. If we do not come to God in submission and reverence, we can never have the skill to experience life as it ought to be lived.

This tells us something about God.  We are introduced to him by the word "Lord," a word appearing in Proverbs more than 100 times.  The Hebrew word used here is transliterated "Yahweh," and can be translated "Jehovah" or "the Lord."  It is the name God used with his people because of his covenant relationship with them.  It is the personal name for our God, and we are his children.

The writer of Proverbs believed that God is not merely an idea, an abstraction of thought, or an impersonal first cause of existence. Rather, he believed God to be a personal God who has a name. The God of Proverbs is indeed the God revealed throughout the entire Word of God.  Our whole purpose of life is to come to know God and to come into a relationship with him.

The fear of the Lord is the starting point of that relationship with God.  It is the place of launch, the point of departure in our quest.  We normally think of a beginning as something that happened at one point in time, then was left behind as we went on to something else.  In this passage the word "beginning" has nothing to do with a past place. Instead it refers to the entrance to a specific road.  It is the place where we begin, but it is more. It continues to be the controlling principle of our relationship with God. It is the very heart of life for us. We begin with the fear of God, and we never leave it behind.  Reverential awe and submission is our beginning attitude, but it is also to be the continuing core of our relationship with God.

We are To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding. Proverbs 1:2  Experiential knowledge is fundamental to a relationship.  It does not matter how much we know-about God.  We must know God.  Proverbs is not a book of instructions but a way of thinking and living in relationship to our Creator God.  Many develop techniques, methods, or rituals as their way to live.  But wisdom is the skill to live in relation to God and His principles for life. 

Scripture to Claim:
For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

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