“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
I never quite understood how fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Why not love of the LORD? or Honoring the LORD? Why fear?
How is fearing the LORD a good thing?
The key to understanding this truth lies in the second clause – “but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Fear of the LORD doesn’t mean being terrified of the LORD. Fear of the LORD refers to one’s awesome respect to the LORD. Fear of the LORD has more to do with how we honor and defer to the LORD.
Because we are finite creatures, there is much we do not know and much we do not understand. But God is infinitely wise. God is omniscient. God knows all truth. Because of that, we humbly come before God as finite creatures to listen and obey God.
The Greek philosopher Epitectus wrote, “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”
Fools come before God with pride. Fools already think they know what is best for them. And, because fools think they already know what is best for them, they are unable to learn the truth.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom because we humbly approach God as finite creatures to hear from God the truth regarding life.
That is wisdom. Knowing that we do not know, and knowing and obeying the One who does know.