The Motto of Proverbs


Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. 

~Proverbs 1:7, NLT


“I never learned anything while I was talking”

~Bob Brechtel or Lou Holtz

The AV translated verse 7 like this…The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. The Hebrew word for instruction is ‘musar’ and it means discipline or chastisement. Roy L. Honeycutt says that Proverbs 1:7 is the ‘Motto’ of Proverbs. Verse 7 encapsulates the beliefs or ideals taught in the book of Proverbs.  These Proverbs contain both Knowledge and Wisdom. Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience. We seek knowledge.  Wisdom is a gift, it’s the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and how they can be applied to life. In studying the first chapter, I have gleamed seven insights that I hope will be helpful.

  1. THE FEAR OF THE LORD is fundamental. It is the first principle of knowledge and wisdom. The word fear comes from the root yare’ which is sometimes translated ‘awe’. It is a speechless fear, a very deep respect. When I got out of the car and walked up to the Niagara Falls, I stood there in speechless awe. It was a moment of worship. A deep respect for God is the first principle of acquiring knowledge and wisdom.
  2. NO PERSON REACHES THEIR LIMIT–there is always more to be learned. I am a much better student today than I was when I was in college. My desire to learn is greater. My willingness to listen is greater. I am appalled at my ignorance: there is more for me to learn, much more.
  3. FEAR OF YAHWEH MEANS REVERENCE IN WORSHIP AND OBEDIENCE IN LIFE. I love celebrative worship but there is more to worship than a Sunday morning service. We call our convocation a “Worship Service” but we have forgotten that ‘Service’ is a part of worship. Any person who attempts to worship without a spirit of obedience will worship in vain.
  4. GOD IS THE SOURCE OF WISDOM. We seek knowledge but wisdom is a gift from above. James said,  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 
  5. FOOLS REFUSE TO LISTEN. We do a lot of our learning by reading but the Hebrews taught from oral tradition. The instructions were not written down for all to see. Students learned by listening to their teachers. Wise people learn by instruction. Average people learn by experience and fools never learn because they refuse to listen.
  6. DON’T FLIRT WITH TEMPTATION. It is like playing with fire; if you continue to do it, you are going to get burned. It is simply a matter of time. What would you call a bird that sits on a limb and watches the trapper set the snare and then flies to the trap and tries to get the bait? Would stupid be a good word? The bird may successfully rob the trap once or twice but sooner or later, it will get caught.
  7. DON’T COMPROMISE WITH SIN. The illustration Solomon uses is a group of thugs trying to talk a naive or inexperienced person into robbing some innocent person with the promise of quick wealth and the excitement of roughing up the person in the process. Solomon’s advice: “Say no and create distance immediately.” I would agree.

The first two session of our WBS went well: I really enjoyed session two and so did June. I do two more tonight. I have studied for weeks but I have to do my lesson plans today and I need to go see Larry. I don’t have any time to waste which means I need your prayers. I am really good at wasting time. It is one of my gifts but it doesn’t need to be exercised today.

I know you liked Dr. Kelly. He is a great story teller, don’t you agree. I went ahead and told him, I would see him next year. I agree with Jason on the women LCBS teachers: we do not do enough for them. We need to make up money and give them all a Cracker Barrel Gift Certificate. I will donate to the cause. God bless our children’s workers.

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