The Fear of the Lord

1 Proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

2 For knowing wisdom and instruction,
For understanding sayings of intelligence,

3 For receiving the instruction of wisdom,
Righteousness, judgment, and uprightness,

4 For giving to simple ones—prudence,
To a youth—knowledge and discretion.

5(The wise doth hear and increaseth learning,
And the intelligent doth obtain counsels.)

6 For understanding a proverb and its sweetness,
Words of the wise and their acute sayings.

7 Fear of Jehovah is a beginning of knowledge,
Wisdom and instruction fools have despised!

-Young’s Literal Translation (Pr 1:1–7).

This has been in the Bible a long time. The word of God is clear, but it is not easy. So it requires discipline, instruction, effort to understand. There is a mood of wisdom: sober, serious, earnest. The fear of the Lord ought to make us earnest, and serious and sober in our search for wisdom.

The fear of the Lord arouses a fear of ignorance, a fear of contempt of learning, a fear of laziness and lack of discipline. There are things we will miss if we will not be instructed or disciplined, if we will not attend. And if we miss them? Read on and you will notice that those who do not attend will be destroyed.

Destroyed for not paying attention–oh yes, and attend is the word. Verse 2, second line, where you see ‘understanding’. For considering, it says, for paying attention to words of understanding, of intelligence. The work of leisure, of long attention or deep attention is in view.

Do you prize such things? Hard to pay attention to what you’re not interested in. Hard to pay attention long if it does not attract you. Which is why at the beginning there is at least fear to drive you. And that fear becomes awe, that fascination and submission. Verse seven is the first proverb, and it is a deep one.

What is your attitude toward this deep book, the Proverbs of Solomon, son of David king of Israel? How do you attend to what the Bible says in general? Surely in some way this applies to everything wise in Scripture, and what part of it is not wise? And wise is good and beautiful and true, and if you do not prize these, what progress have you made? What prudence, what discretion, what awe?

Wisdom begins with awe of God.


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