This next section in Proverbs begins with an important admonition—one which is not given much credence in the world today: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.”
Proverbs 1:7–16 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.”
In the Hebrew the word “beginning” makes reference to “the principal thing.” Most of the intellectual elite in this world consider this to be a foolish statement; that is because they are wise in their own eyes. The prophet Isaiah warns against this mindset.
Isaiah 5:20–21 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”
Later in Proverbs Solomon warns that this attitude is fatal.
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Knowledge can only be rightly applied with wisdom when one understands that God our Creator is the source of all knowledge and the only One with authority to determine how to use it for good. When men choose to ignore His authority and His will as revealed in His word, they inevitably end up using it for wicked purposes; Solomon calls them fools.
Another observation from this passage, children should be able to depend upon the instruction of their parents. Solomon was obviously referencing parents who recognized God as Lord. Sadly, in this day and age that is a group greatly in the minority. The news is full of reports of crimes being committed by children, especially those that align themselves with gangs. Disrespect of authority figures both at home and in school is in evidence throughout our nation because we have turned away from God and from teaching according to biblical principles.
The next section of verses seems to be a significant commentary on the gang culture in our nation. The members use peer pressure to encourage others to join them. They lure them with the thought of getting rich at the expense of others. They have no respect for life and are motivated solely by their own selfish desires. Solomon warns (my paraphrase): Their actions are evil, and they are quick to kill to get what they want.
Sin as defined by God’s word is becoming more and more acceptable in our culture and people are drawing further and further away from embracing the love of God and living a life defined by that love. Jesus foretold that this would be descriptive of the times before His return.
Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
Paul warned Timothy that this type of mindset would be characteristic of the last days.
2 Timothy 3:1–5 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
(to be continued…)