This Time I Asked "Why?"

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
— Proverbs 1:7 ESV

Repetition plays a key role in my life, especially in my life with God. I suspect that is one reason I read the book of Proverbs most every month. There are thirty-one chapters in this book of God's wisdom and generally the same number of days each month. Walking through Proverbs helps wear a very good "God path" in my heart and mind.

This practice is also why I found myself in Proverbs one on the first day of the New Year. Reading verse seven was like passing a familiar friend on the street:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Verse seven is familiar, but it is easy to take familiar friends for granted. That is why it is not uncommon for my eyes to see, but not really dwell on that verse.

Yesterday was different. Rather than acknowledge a familiar friend and move on, I stopped to ask the question: "Why?"

Why is the fear of the LORD the beginning of knowledge?

I meditated on that thought for a few minutes. As I did I began to see that without the "fear of the LORD":

  • I can enjoy a pleasant journey through life, but never arrive home. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
  • I can be as brilliant as Thomas Jefferson and miss the keystone of knowledge. The fear of the LORD the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 1:7
  • I can be wise, but never as prudent as I might be. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
  • I can have great vision and still be near-sighted as to both what and Who really matters. But let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. Jeremiah 9:24
  • I can have friends and miss the friend who sticks closer than a brother. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
  • I can feel mists of joy, but miss the fountainhead. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11
  • I can be strong, but never find the strength that only comes from weakness.“ My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • I can see beauty, but fail to acknowledge the Artist. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. Isaiah 40:26
  • I can enjoy gifts, but fail to thank the Giver. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
  • I can call out to God in my calamity, but discover I waited too long to search for Him. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Proverbs 1:28
  • I can be captured by a grand narrative, but never know "happy ever after" or meet the Author. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. 2 Corinthians 1:20

When Solomon writes about "the fear of the LORD" he is talking about having a reverential and personal relationship with Jehovah. Nothing could be more important in life. Nothing could be more essential in the New Year.

Interestingly, Solomon does not stop to explain what "the fear of the LORD" means, nor does he pause to offer a five-point plan to make it a reality. He simply urges us to pursue the Almighty.

Are you?

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
— Jeremiah 29:13.