The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7, NKJV)
The proverbs of Solomon generate knowledge grounded in wisdom, instruction, perception and understanding (Prov. 1:1-2). They provide wisdom’s instruction concerning justice, judgment and equity (Prov. 1:3). They give discretion and enlightenment to the innocent and inexperienced (Prov. 1:4). Furthermore, wise ones will gain learning and acquire good counsel through pondering these proverbs (Prov. 1:5-6). Yet, without the “fear of the Lord,” no such knowledge, wisdom, instruction and counsel will be attained. The fear of the Lord, then, is the starting line, the “beginning” place from which one proceeds to benefit from the proverbs. The “fools” of verse 7 are set in contrast to those who “fear the Lord.” They do not dread displeasing God. They do not stand in awe of Him. They do not revere His name. Thus, they despise the wisdom and knowledge that proceeds from Him. We recall that Jesus said we need “ears to hear” God’s word. The fear of the Lord is an excellent place to start.
1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; 2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. 3 When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, 4 He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live. (Proverbs 4:1–4, NKJV)
Isn’t it amazing how much wiser our parents became by the time we were twenty-five years old than when we were fifteen?! Of course, it was not that they had a spurt of wisdom, but that we matured and began to appreciate the understanding and wisdom they had all along. The seasoned counsel and experience of parents will be listened to and followed by the wise child. God has so arranged that each generation is helped grow to maturity by the wisdom of godly, parental instruction. Do not resist the “good doctrine” of your parents. Your will have a blessing in your life as you accept and follow your parents’ wise guidance.
8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; 9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck.” (Proverbs 1:8–9, NKJV)
A mark of maturity is the willingness to accept and follow wise, godly instruction from one’s parents. Tempering the boisterous confidence of youth with humility and sound judgment is the task undertaken by parental teaching and counsel. The blessed child learns to respect his or her parents by accepting and retaining the training they give. If your parents have taught you to fear the Lord and do His will, then thank God. And, so your thanks for them by living according to their wise and loving instruction.