Reader: “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,”
Response: “but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Scripture: Proverbs 1:1-7
These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.
Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Imagine you had a twenty-three-year-old son or daughter launching out on their own entering the workforce. They came to you for advice (I said this was imaginary!), what would be your counsel? King Solomon, a man renown for his insights into all manner of wisdom, has helped us out with the book of Proverbs. He begins by telling us that the purpose of proverbs is to teach wisdom and discipline in living life. His first basic principle is fearing the Lord. A right relationship to God is the foundation on which everything else is built. It’s the rock.
If I might be so bold, what are you doing in a disciplined manner to cultivate this “fear of the Lord?” One of the primary ways is to carve out a block of time each day with the Scriptures studying, reading, meditating on, praying through in which you encounter the living Lord. It doesn’t happen any other way apart from time with the Scriptures. Every time you sit down with your Bible ask the Lord to show you what he wants you to see.
Take this passage for instance. Let’s walk our way through it. Our topic is proverbs. We begin with a purpose statement. The purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline. Ask yourself why? In typical Jewsih fashion, the second half of the verse answers the question the first half raised. The purpose of wisdom and discipline is to better understand the insights of people who are already wise. Learn from those with experience. Another purpose of wisdom and discipline is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives. The idea of wisdom and discipline is that they are practical and should affect the way one lives. They are also apparently instrumental in producing success. They are also useful in helping one in doing right, making just and fair decisions.
How much clambering do we hear today about justice? The source of such is the fear of the Lord. We’ve seen some things about the purpose of proverbs, but what else will they do? Proverbs give insight to the person who is subject to doing stupid things and not thinking things through. It will help them get insight into themselves and how they think. Proverbs can give knowledge and the ability to discern to those young people with little experience. There is no ultimate “arrival” place with wisdom; it’s always possible to become even wiser. Exploring the meaning of proverbs and parables brings understanding. With understanding, wisdom brings guidance. Fearing the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, hence the wise person will commit to nurturing their relationship with the Lord. For example, a proverb from my wise godfearing father was, “You never have to apologize for what you didn’t say.” Wisdom. When you are reading Scripture, always ask yourself, “Why did it say that? And why did they use those words?”
Music: “Personent Hodie” arr. Lara Hoggard Choralis (wait for the light!)
“On This Day Earth Shall Ring” St Malachy’s college choir
Bonus: “The Christmas Song” The King’s Singers’
Prayer:Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them. Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, “Speak, for thy servant heareth.” Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart. Let me get used to the sound of Thy Voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking Voice. Amen. ―A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, p.82