The Beginning Of Wisdom

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom . . .”

— Proverbs 1:7

Do you face a tough decision in your life, maybe one that makes you wish for some writing across the sky to indicate which way to go? Then you could probably use a good dose of wisdom. I don’t mean knowledge per se—information for information’s sake. I mean wisdom: the ability to rightly apply knowledge to your life. There is a difference. For example, a young person might have enough knowledge to rattle off a dozen ways that smoking endangers one’s health yet lack the wisdom to “just say no” when that person’s peers want him or her to light up.

So how do we acquire the wisdom to help us make good decisions? By asking God for it. In James 1:5, God promises that if we ask in faith for wisdom, He will give it to us.

We also acquire wisdom by fearing the Lord. The books of Psalms and Proverbs talk a lot about the “fear of the Lord.” In these instances, the term “fear” does not mean a slavish dread of Him; rather, it refers to that reverential awe of God that we should all have.

Without such fear of the Lord, we cannot acquire true knowledge or wisdom. I’m sure that many would mock that statement and set forth numerous examples of supposedly wise people who demonstrate no fear of the Lord whatsoever. But we can’t make hasty judgments. We don’t know how a story ends until we read the last page of a book, and that same principle applies to life. A person may gather much of the world’s knowledge, yet that individual will eventually have to face the Lord God and give an account of his or her life. The Bible writes this epitaph of all ungodly people (however vast their knowledge of this world): “Thou fool.” It is impossible to gain wisdom until one first fears the Lord.

Do you desire wisdom? Then place the Lord in His right and proper place in your life— as your Lord, worthy of reverential awe.

“The greatest good is wisdom.”
St. Augustine