The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. -Proverbs 1:7
What does it mean to fear the Lord? In the Old Testament, the Israelites had the Ten Commandments. In addition to those basic laws, there was a whole host of precepts one had to follow. At first glance, it seemed to have been a super-strict society void of the joy of life. But keep in mind, these laws were given to a people who spent decades wandering around in the wilderness. They had food, water, and shelter, yet they complained non-stop. Given half a chance, they would melt all their gold and start worshipping cows.
Violation of the laws meant punishment. So, for Solomon, the first key to knowledge was simply put as “Fear the Lord.” Might as well just say, “Fear the Law,” which was given to us by the Lord. This is not much different than fearing the laws today that our government has put into place.
You know who doesn’t fear the law? Fools. They have been instructed in what is right and wrong, yet they choose to break the law anyway.
The beginning of knowledge is this: There are consequences for your actions. If one was to sin against what they know in their hearts is right, they may not enjoy what comes next.
As for the Ten Commandments, you might not remember what they are anymore. After all, our schools no longer teach them. But when Jesus was asked which was the greatest of the laws, He stated two:
- You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and
- You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:34-40)
How can you go wrong if you can obey those two?