“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7 NIV).
This selection of wisdom provided by Solomon to his son is as relevant today as it was hundreds of years ago.
Who better to tell someone about respecting and reverencing God other than one who started life in His reign totally dependent upon God and then, turned away from God’s instruction to pacify his flesh (namely all the wives)?
When Solomon admonishes his son by saying “fools despise wisdom and instruction” he knows what he saying. He did not completely follow God’s instruction and although he was given wisdom beyond measure out of obedience at the beginning of his reign, he lost sight of what he had. He became a braggart, showing off all God had given and allowed his ego and pride to overrule common sense. As a result, he did not live to see or receive all of God’s promises to him fulfilled.
What do we learn from Solomon’s experience? A study of Proverbs (or the book of Wisdom) helps us to understand self, flesh, others and God and what it means to obey His Word.
The first thing we have to do in order to receive and understand God’s wisdom is to keep Him in the position greatest honor and reverence. This what “fear” means in this passage–not that we should be afraid of God, but to reverence Him and honor Him enough to always obey.
In many homes, children are taught to respect and honor parents and to some–it might appear that the children fear the parents. What is more important to note is that obedient children, when they are loved and nurtured and admonished about behavior, usually do not want to disappoint their parents, so they obey them as a matter of respect and honor. We should do the same with God–obey Him out of a desire to not want to disappoint Him.
This desire–to please God and not disappoint Him–is the beginning of Wisdom!