The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 (ESV)
It is what we don’t know that scares us. Since the serpent’s first temptation, Adam’s entire race has longed to know everything. When we don’t know, everything is risky. Humanity has taken various approaches to this dilemma, including the ridiculous presumption that not even God knows---or worse, that there is no God and no fixed truth. That is a high price to pay intellectually just to ease the angst of not knowing.
Most of us admit that we are searchers. We have some knowledge and we want more, especially as it relates to how we are to live and find some measure of happiness. Almost every culture in history has a record of “wisdom literature.” The observations and reflections of the wise have been kept for the benefit of future generations with the hope that they can build on the formation of truth. The Bible’s narrative reveals a period around the time of King Solomon where wisdom was prized more than ever. The book of Proverbs is associated with Solomon as well as books of the Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. These contain great perspectives on life as it relates to reality. But the wisdom of Solomon and his age is not the final perspective. It was not wrong, but it was incomplete. It foreshadowed another age when truth was incarnated and wisdom walked the streets of the city. We are told in the New Testament that Jesus has become wisdom to those who are in him (1 Corinthians 1:30).
What does the final wisdom look like when viewed through the eyes of the gospel? Thankfully, we are not left trying to align our lives to the principles of wisdom on our own. We can have access to the knowledge of God as it is revealed through Jesus, his Son. He not only reveals what is real; he empowers us to walk in it. You should be warned! It is so much greater than any of us imagined that we often dismiss it. It is no wonder that king David marveled at the glory of God’s word, even when he was seeing only a portion.
I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.
Psalm 119:14 (NASB)
On this side of the cross we know more of what the Old Testament saints saw in part. As we see it, we are ecstatic!
It begins here: “The fear of the Lord (Yahweh).” Not just any lord, but the one Lord who has revealed himself as a covenant Lord. He is sovereign as creator, sustainer, savior, and judge. He is knowable and worthy of total worship. He made the initiative in establishing covenant with us. When we couldn’t keep the covenant, he came and did it for us. He is not an arbitrary or moody god, but one whose glory causes us to bow. We tremble, not because we expect the worst, but because we can’t fathom his goodness. There is no strutting in his presence. Neither is there indifference. The indescribable light of his goodness exposes all deception and we are established in liberating truth. It is here that true knowledge begins. Fools ignore him and wander in the fog of delusion, but God has again revealed his goodness in making the knowledge that all humans have sought accessible through faith in Jesus who is Wisdom. He wants us to know. It starts with knowing him.