A Contrast in Lifestyles
Many, many times in the book of Proverbs we see a contrast between two different ways of thinking or two different ways of living. This is a great way of examining what happens when we walk down a particular path of life. The first of these contrasts is found in Proverbs 1:5-7: 5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I think we’d all like to consider ourselves “wise”. We read in verse 5 that a wise man will hear and increase learning. A wise man or woman knows that he/she has never “arrived” in the world of wisdom. The elevator or wisdom is always “going up”. Even a man of understanding needs wise counsel. None of us is qualified to successfully navigate this difficult world on our own. Do you have “counselors” in your life? A counselor could be a spouse, a parent, a friend….someone who has your ear and your ear “hears” what they say. It is great to have a counselor…especially one that you don’t have to pay $100/hour to!
In verse 7 we see the first contrast. The wise man knows that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Why is the fear of the Lord the beginning of knowledge? Think about that for a minute……………………………………. I believe that fearing or respecting God is the beginning of knowledge because knowledge has to have a starting point. There has to be a basis to “begin” to know something. The world offers a starting point for knowledge. Other “gods” offer a starting point for knowledge. But if you start off in the wrong direction, you will end up going the wrong way. The God of the Bible is the only right starting point. Everything we learn has to originate from Him and everything that we evaluate in learning needs to fit consistently with the knowledge that God has revealed.
There are plenty of intelligent, bright people who act like fools instead of wise men…for most of them it is because God doesn’t fit into their starting point for instruction. We will see this point again and again in Proverbs because it is foundational. Maybe you’ve never considered yourself to be “wise” because of your IQ or the fact that you weren’t an honor student. That really has nothing to do with wisdom at all. Wisdom is following the word of God.