I’ve done some “not so smart things” in my life and I’ve looked back on them and felt the stinging knot of regret swell up in my stomach. Then there are those times where I feel like I’m really trying to do what’s right, but still feel I am coming up short. Have you been there - are you currently there? These next few months I am going to be walking through the book of Proverbs… If you are up for it, join me. Bottom line - there is no wisdom apart from knowing God and the wild thing is He wants us to know Him.
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth--
5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
“To know wisdom and instruction.” This pretty much sums up the first 6 verses of Proverbs. This quest is noble and the pursuit is central.
The first six verses alone are packed full with words listed like prized treasure to be found:
Where is this precious treasure uncovered?
Cue verse 7…
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge, fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
The answer In short (but in full) is ….the fear of the Lord. This is where it all begins.
Not fear of what people think. Not fear of failing. Not fear of pleasing others. Not fear of self. BUT the FEAR of the Lord.
The quest for wisdom and knowledge is found in knowing who God is and in all humility submitting ourselves to Him. Notice the use of the name “the Lord” as to the use of “God” in verse 7. The title “the Lord” is referring to the name of the covenant keeping God of Israel. Proverbs is not calling us to submit ourselves to a generic God, but it is a call of submission to the One whose name is Faithful, Almighty, Father, Healer, Provider, Everlasting. It’s a call to the One who, before the foundations of the earth knew you by name. The beginning of knowledge is not found in begrudging submission to a distant, arcane God, but to a God whose love is shown in blood. We fear out of a heart that has miraculously been changed from stone to flesh. Not a fear of being holy hammered from heaven - we fear because in Him alone our souls are safe.
Throughout Proverbs we see the close tie between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is the understanding of oneself in light of who God is while wisdom is the skill of applying that understanding into Godly living. The alternative to this, simply put, is to be a fool.
We can’t have one without the other. To simple “know” but not “do” is not knowing at all and to only “do” and not “know” is vain doing. If we endeavor to know God; we endeavor to live for Him. These are inseparable certainties.
Do you feel the tension of knowing and not doing? Do you feel the disappointment of doubt or the sorrow of self-rule instead of a surrendered posture of heart? Typically, my first response to this tension is to self-deprecate or crumble at my own feebleness. Paul himself pens the words in Romans 7:19 “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” This is Paul talking. The bulk writer of the New testament struggled with this tension.
This is the condition of the human heart. Until we realize there is no innate wisdom within us, we will not be able to see the beautiful and gracious gift of a life lived surrendered to God. His wisdom is fully for our good and His glory. It quenches or wrestling heart with purpose and peace. It frees us from the bondage of our own destructive ways and allows us to live in indisputable freedom.
I am no expert on any topic. I am writing just to share in my journey of learning to abide in my Maker.