“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
After mulling over what it means to be a “woman who fears the Lord” in Proverbs 31, I came back to Proverbs 1 at the beginning of the month and found this nugget: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge …
The place to begin for knowledge is a posture of reverence, holy fear, and awe towards God. He is the source of all knowledge because He is the creator of all. A rebellious heart may reject or disagree with God’s knowledge, but that will not change truth. Truth is not up for vote. God does not campaign for our vote, but wants to woo us with His love. If I truly want the truth, I must pursue God.
Where do we typically go for knowledge? Where ever that is, it usually begins www. Or perhaps we may reach for our “magic box” (aka cell phone) for all the answers. But real truth, eternal truth, can never be found apart from God. If my desire is knowledge, I must first acknowledge God (fear God) as the source of knowledge. If I reject Him, I am choosing, by default, to reject truth. It would be like wanting to study the Civil War, but refusing to acknowledge Abraham Lincoln. It makes no sense.
Like much of Proverbs, this verse is written in a poetic couplet form, and the latter phrase gives two key words that also offer insight regarding the fear of the Lord: wisdom and discipline. As I allowed this verse to percolate in my heart, I asked God to reveal how knowledge, wisdom, and discipline are the same and yet different. I’m humbled and grateful by what He gave me.
I glean knowledge from studying God’s Word. This stirs up intimacy and respect and reverence for God, the Father. As I study, I know His statues. They are in my heart and on my mind.
Wisdom results when I connect the dots to real life. I see how to apply that truth to life’s decisions and situations. Wisdom takes the academic and makes it practical. It allows me to see how to live out loud the truth I see revealed.
Discipline means I choose to do it. I may know the truth. I may see how to apply it, but until I get up and walk in it, I have not exercised discipline.
And then as I pondered these three – knowledge, wisdom, and discipline – my heart skipped a beat as I sensed God prompt me to see the Trinity. I’m in awe. It’s so clear. God the Father is the source of all knowledge. He reveals this to us in His Word. Jesus, the Son, exchanged His robe of glory for one fashioned from flesh to demonstrate wisdom – to set the example for how we as humans can live out God’s truth. And the Holy Spirit, our Holy Prompter or Holy Reminder, both enables and empowers us with the discipline to actually get up and do it.
Oh, God. How good and faithful you are! I acknowledge You as the source of all truth. My heart’s desire is to glean knowledge from You and Your Word. Show me. Teach me. Jesus, thank you for Your life – a living example of what it looks like to live the Word. And, Holy Spirit, poke me, prod me, and remind me today. Give me opportunities to be a Christ-follower and enable me to follow through. Amen.