Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
This very famous verse is even shorter in Japanese than in English, in terms of how much space it takes, but this one simple verse should be the foundation of all education on the planet. Sadly, it isn’t, and many academics pride themselves on quite the opposite. Like a recent US president, they tend to be dismissive of those who “cling to their Bibles, guns, and religion.” In their blindness, they think that faith is the antithesis of thought, when nothing could be further from the truth. This verse says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the foundation. God gives us our minds for us to use them, but if we fail to start from the foundation of who God is, our minds can take us in some highly destructive directions. One look at human history tells us that. We consider knowledge a good thing, and generally it is, but especially in this Information Age, most of us know a lot of stuff without understanding any of it. The Japanese word for “understanding” in this verse is often translated “enlightenment,” and is a pillar of Buddhism. It is only in knowing God that “the lights come on” in truth. Otherwise, we’re still in the dark, no matter how much information we might have. As God told Jeremiah, “Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” (Jeremiah 9:24) Paul, with the fuller revelation of Jesus Christ, put it this way: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11) (Incidentally, the “somehow” doesn’t mean that Paul doubted that he would be raised, but rather that he didn’t know how it would happen.)
As I am frequently reminded, I was raised in a very intellectual/academic family. The greatest blessing, however, was that it was founded on the truth in this verse, and a right relationship with our Creator was the highest good and ultimate goal. I caught that, but I am still tempted by knowledge for the sake of knowledge; I like to know stuff! That becomes a problem when I start to look down on the uncurious, to think that my knowledge makes me better than them. When that happens it shows that I am losing my fear of the Lord, because He created each of us differently, and He doesn’t make mistakes. It is my privilege to share God’s truth with others, but I must never do so from an attitude of pride. The better I know my Lord, the more humble I will be! Everything good about me is an example of God’s grace, and not something I have generated or earned. I am to be a faithful steward of all that He has placed in my hands, but I must remember that it is His and not mine, and live accordingly.
Father, thank You for this reminder. We leave this morning for a meeting in which I am looked on as some sort of authority, even though the majority of those participating are not yet Christians. Help me steer them toward You through everything I say and do, so that Your Spirit may open their hearts for repentance and faith, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!