The Beginning of Knowledge

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. ~Proverbs 1:7

This passage does not call us to be terrified of God as some despot ruler. Rather it instructs us to have a healthy fear and respect for God both as a good and strong father who will discipline His children in order to teach them wisdom and also as a supreme judge who knows our hearts and our actions and will hold us accountable for them.

As we hold God up as our ultimate standard and fearfully seek His wisdom and understanding, He responds by granting them to us in abundance. As we move away from God and seek our own counsel, not only do we individually create within ourselves an empty longing for something that cannot be filled by the things of this world, but we also corporately begin to lose the wisdom that God gives generously to those who seek and fear Him. What we call 'common sense' is actually the beginning of knowledge granted to us by God. The more a society moves away from God, the less common 'common sense' becomes.

As I look around at the modern American culture I am struck by dramatic changes that have occurred in the past several decades. The one foundational and fundamental change that has been most evident and most damaging in our society is the cultural shift from seeking wisdom in the immovable foundation of the rock of Scripture to seeking wisdom from the ever-shifting sands of our own counsel.

It is true that every generation has its crisis and that the path we walk has dangers on both sides. We also do not want to slide off the road on the other side into the ditch of strict legalism. Our journey is ultimately not about following rules but it is about seeking God and allowing Him to direct our paths.
Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life;
Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet and take only the ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left; keep your feet from evil.
                                                                        ~Proverbs 4:23-27

I didn't grow up in a church environment, yet still, this is the type of instruction I remember as a child being common in our society. It is this solid Biblical instruction and thinking that is rapidly being removed from our society and replaced with the secular ideals of material wealth and personal security above all things. Yet even though our culture is quickly and purposefully moving away from God and rejecting His counsel there is some part of each of us that longs and yearns for the fruits of that proper relationship.

Just before coming to know Christ, I had a conversation with a friend where I described the type of man, husband, and father I wanted to be. I said that I longed to be like the character Charles Ingalls, played my Michael Landon, on Little House on the Prairie. To me, his character embodied everything a good man should strive to be. My friend's response to me changed my world, opened my eyes, and started me down my own path with Christ. It was this: “That's interesting, because the words I would use to describe Charles Ingalls would be 'God fearing'”.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

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