by: Denise Robinson
The book of Proverbs is one of three Wisdom books in the Old Testament. Wisdom texts are educational or reflective in tone, focusing on how one experiences and interprets life in the world, and with implications on how one is to live. They contain some practical advice, but the main purpose is to shape character. Proverbs are not, by their nature, intended to be always literally true; sometimes, like a parable or a riddle, they reveal truths only if we are willing to struggle with what they are saying and learn from them. The Proverbs also remind us that true wisdom comes only from God. With that understanding, let's begin!
"The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: For learning about wisdom and instruction, for understanding words of insight, for gaining instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity; to teach shrewdness to the simple, knowledge and prudence to the young - let the wise also hear and gain in learning, and the discerning acquire skill, to understand a proverb and a figure; the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Prov. 1:1-7)
Solomon makes a long list of claims for these proverbs, doesn't he? Which would you say strike home most for you? The key to this section is v. 7: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge...." Fear here, as in the Psalms, does not mean to be "afraid" or "frightened." "Fear" in the OT sense might mean that to some degree, but mostly it means to be in awe of or to highly respect.
As your meditation for today, consider what it means to be in "fear of" God. What would your life look like if you had more respect for God than anyone else, if God's opinions and desires shaped your life more than those of anyone else? Knowledge and understanding begin as we think about God and our relationship to and with God.
Have a wonderful day!