The Beginning of Knowledge

One of my children (I won’t tell you her name, but her initials are Kirsten) is notorious for putting things together without using the enclosed directions.

This rarely ends well.

‘How hard could it be?’ we say.

‘I can do this.’

‘I don’t need any help.’


We do the same thing in life, don’t we? Even though we have millions of people who have gone before us who have encountered the same problems and challenges we are now facing, we say, ‘I don’t need any help.’

We are fools. Prideful ones, too.

Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (ESV).

I love the ESV Study Bible’s commentary on this verse:

“Knowledge and wisdom are closely tied together in Proverbs: knowledge tends to focus on correct understanding of the world and oneself as creatures of the magnificent and loving God, while wisdom is the acquired skill of applying that knowledge rightly. The reason that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom is that the moral life begins with reverence and humility before the Maker and Redeemer.”

Reverence and what?


(There’s that pride thing again.)

Have you ever prayed for wisdom?

‘Lord, give me the wisdom to make the right decision…’

But according to the words above, wisdom is the application of knowledge. So we are making the assumption that we have the necessary knowledge (instructions?) when we pray for wisdom.

Do we have the necessary knowledge? Have we spent time in the study of God’s Word? Have we talked to those who have already hacked through the jungles we’re now facing?

Or are we of the ‘I can do this’ mentality?

Let us all, in deep humility, acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, we don’t have it all figured out. That maybe, just maybe, we’re tired of having parts left over when we finish our projects. That maybe, just maybe, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.

Life is short, and life is hard.

Let’s not be foolish.

p.s. Kirsten, I love you. Call me when you go to IKEA. I’ll meet you at your house with my tools.

*First written March 21, 2014*

About pastoroftheprez

Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Kings Mountain, NC.
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