Bible Reading: Proverbs 1:1-7
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
These days, academia and scientific knowledge are highly regarded. However, many intellectuals have abandoned God altogether, arrogantly boasting that there is no longer any need for God with scientific knowledge. They are very mistaken for knowledge without God is futile.
God is the creator of the universe. All knowledge stems from HIm because He designed everything. More than that, knowledge obtained from studying the natural world should point to the Designer, namely God Himself. True knowledge is a correct understanding of the world and ourselves as humans being the creatures of the loving God. This kind of knowledge is not theoretical knowledge reserved only for the mind. This kind of knowledge is an experiential knowledge of our God. It is a relational knowledge that involves our affections and ultimately changes our will.
This kind of knowledge of God leads to wisdom which can be defined as “skill in the art of godly living”. If we have wisdom, we are very blessed, as the rest of the book of Proverbs will explain. To have wisdom is to know how to live in this world. It is to have a life that grows in holiness and walks daily with the Lord. Wisdom is not something we can attain by our own efforts. It is a gift from God.
Both knowledge and wisdom stem from the fear of the Lord. This does not mean fear in the nuance of fearing God’s judgment and wrath (servile fear). To fear the Lord means to deeply respect Him out of awe for who He is (this is termed filial fear). Those who fear the Lord fear to hurt God’s heart by disobeying Him. Filial fear is the fear of a son to his loving father, while servile fear is the fear of a servant to his master.
Where does the fear of the Lord begin? Let us take a look at 1 Pet 1:13-21. Here Peter calls the church to be holy because God is holy. Note that knowledge and wisdom are both at play. One who personally knows that God is holy will live holily — wisdom in action.
v. 17-19 says, “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
The fear of the Lord comes from knowing what God has done for us through Christ. God the Father is holy and judges impartially. Sinners like you and I deserve wrath and eternal judgement. We deserve lives of futility leading to hell. Let that sink in. We do not deserve grace. Yet, in His unfathomable grace and love, He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the atonement for our sins. His precious blood was shed for our sake. If the Spirit opens the truth of such a message in our hearts, He will humble us and place awe in our hearts for our God, who is forever to be praised.
Do we know our God? Do we fear Him? This is where knowledge and wisdom begin. This is the door to the true life God intended. It is not for us to claim, but it is a free gift of God which He offers to those who would seek, believe and repent in Christ Jesus. Seek to know Him, and you will discover the overflowing fountain of life.
Lord, thank You for Your works on the cross. Please help us to get to know You personally. Plant the fear of the Lord in our hearts, and may You continue to cultivate the fear of the Lord as we grow in You year by year. Teach us Your ways and give us wisdom. May our one life glorify You. In Jesus’ name, amen.