Start With God.
“Start with GOD — the first step in learning is bowing down to GOD; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.” – Proverbs 1:7 MSG
Solomon makes it perfectly clear why he is taking the time to pen the Proverbs. “Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and knowledge, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young…” (Proverbs 1:2-4 NLT). It sounds as if Solomon is putting together a self-help manual aimed at teaching people how to get smarter so that they can be more successful in life. But then he qualifies his purpose statement with a non-negotiable requirement. It all begins with a healthy fear of God. The Proverbs are not just a collection of wise and pithy statements designed to increase our wisdom and improve our lives, they are a reminder to make God the focus of our lives. He is the sole source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. He alone gives insight to the simple and knowledge and discernment to the young. The wisdom described in the Proverbs is a byproduct of a relationship with God. It cannot be achieved any other way. Ignoring God will leave us ignorant. When Solomon says that fools despise wisdom and discipline, he is describing those who reject God. By turning their back on God and refusing to live according to His terms, they reject the very things they need to succeed in this life. They miss out on the wisdom, knowledge and understanding He alone can provide. But it all begins with a fear of God. The NET Bible describes the fear of the Lord this way: “The fear of the Lord is the foundation for wisdom (9:10) and the discipline leading to wisdom (15:33). It is expressed in hatred of evil (8:13) and avoidance of sin (16:6), and so results in prolonged life (10:27; 19:23).” The fear of the Lord is marked by an understanding of who God is – His holiness, righteousness, wrath, justice, power, sovereignty, love, grace and mercy. To fear God is to show Him reverence and awe. It is an acknowledgement of His majesty and might. It is a recognition of His holiness and hatred of sin. A healthy fear of God prevents us from taking God for granted and treating Him with contempt.
Solomon describes those who refuse to fear God as simpleminded, mockers, and fools. “They hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord” (Proverbs 1:29 NLT). To refuse to fear God is to refuse all that God has to offer – including wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Those who reject God “must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes” (Proverbs 1:31 NLT). No one plans to live his life as a fool. Every person on the planet wants to live wisely and successfully. But unless they seek God and start with Him, they will never achieve their goal. “For simpletons turn away from me – to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm” (Proverbs 1:32-33 NLT). Wisdom is an attribute of God. He is all-knowing, all-wise. All that there is to know and understand is found in Him. Find Him and You will discover all you need to live a disciplined and successful life.
Father, all that I need for life is found in You. There is no wisdom available any other place. Understanding and knowledge are only available through a vibrant, submissive relationship with You. It all starts and ends with You. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men