Today’s bible study is from Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
In the Book of Proverbs are to be found many of the wisest sayings in our collective knowledge. It is from the same root that our use of the word ‘proverbial’ comes. Today, we are given yet another bite size piece of sage knowledge. The first line is a little hard to understand, since fear is not part of what we usually think of when we l think of the Lord. We have gotten into the habit of knowing a Lord of love and kindness, forgiveness and mercy, grace and goodness. Yet fear is referred to many times in the Old Testament.
God is referred to as ‘an awesome God.’ This does not mean simply worthy of awe and wonder. We frail, faulty humans certainly must stand in awe of a God so awesome as to have created the world and everything in it, a God who arranged the stars in the skies and the sun in the center of our universe. Do we not stand in awe of a God who is the guardian of all of eternity?
And, it is through this awe that we are able to acquire knowledge. We are constantly searching for meaning, answers and connection. We are looking for the invisible, listening for the silent, and searching for the untraced. We are trying our very best to understand an awesome God who is beyond our poor powers to fully comprehend. Yet, we study, we read, we ponder, and we imagine. We consult biblical historians and theologian. We may amass libraries of books. Yet, we are left with questions we cannot answer. And the reason we cannot answer them is simply that God is awesome. God is so filled with awe that it is beyond out poor powers to fully understand Him.
But we are no fools. We do not despise wisdom and instruction. We, on the other hand, relish it. We learn as much as we possibly can. We read the bible and study passages from it. We try to give meaning and context to the words of our Lord and Savior. Many of us attend church and Sunday school and learn with others who are also searching on their own spiritual journeys. We listen to ministers, priests and pastors. We remember what they teach and question their words. We study and check concordances and lectionaries. Our hearts and minds are open to all the understanding and wisdom we can possibly assimilate.
And, through prayerful study, we will be filled with knowledge and wisdom. We will learn a bit more each day and along each step of our own spiritual journey. Sometimes we will learn in great leaps and bounds, and at other times by only hand breadths at a time, yet we are constantly learning and growing in wisdom. Through our prayers, we ask Jesus to teach us, to help us to learn and to grant us wisdom. May we never forget the awesomeness of God and may we always open our hearts and our minds to every opportunity to gain in knowledge and wisdom, through Christ our Lord.