Verse of the Day: Proverbs 9:10
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10
I want to start this by letting Solomon himself declare why these writings are so important. “To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice, and integrity; To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, A wise person will hear and increase in learning, And a person of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a saying, The words of the wise and their riddles.” Proverbs 1:2-6. And then he wraps up these verses into one. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7.
Now, one more thing we need to understand is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge, in itself, is nothing more than an accumulation of raw facts. An example of this would be a list of holidays or family members or how much money we currently have. But wisdom goes well beyond this, being the ability to see people, events, things, and situations as God sees them. Throughout this book, Solomon reveals the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations as well. As we read it, we see no topic escaped King Solomon’s attention. These include, but not limited to, personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and Godliness.
Now let’s look at what the Psalmist says about this. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; All those who follow His commandments have a good understanding; His praise endures forever.” Psalm 111:10. The verses before this in Psalm 111 speak of the great works of the Lord. “Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, In the company of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them. Splendid and majestic is His work, And His righteousness endures forever. He has caused His wonders to be remembered; The LORD is gracious and compassionate. He has given food to those who fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever. He has made known to His people the power of His works, In giving them the inheritance of the nations. The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are trustworthy. They are upheld forever and ever; They are performed in truth and uprightness. He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name. Psalm 111:1-9.
Now, the theme of wisdom and its necessity in our lives finds its fulfillment in Christ. We are continually exhorted in Proverbs to seek wisdom, get wisdom, and understand wisdom. It also tells us several times that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Our fear of the Lord’s wrath and justice is what drives us to Christ, who is the embodiment of God’s wisdom as expressed in His glorious plan of redemption for mankind. We read in Colossians that “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have in your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and that they would attain to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:1-3. We receive a full understanding of true knowledge and wisdom, which is found in Christ. And in another verse we read, “But it is due to Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written: “LET THE ONE WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31.
The wisdom that is found only in Christ is in contrast to the foolishness of the world which encourages us to be wise in our own eyes. But Proverbs also tells us that the world’s wisdom is not God’s way. “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:7. but actually leads only to death “There is a way which seems right to a person, But its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12. Wisdom comes to us when we fear the Lord, not in being afraid in a phobic way, but an awe and reverential fear as we really think about God; His greatness, His power, who He is, just that awe that comes over us when we desire to do what God would have us do. As Pastor Chuck Smith once said, “Love what God loves. Hate what God hates. Have that desire recognizing who God is. To seek to please Him, that’s what the fear of the Lord is about. That’s the beginning of wisdom.”
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.