“The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth. Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:1-7
The Bible tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) hand crafted by God and for Him. Like the rest of creation, the complexity of the human mind and body gives an undeniable witness to the Master Designer! To be created “for God” is to be called into relationship “with” Him. This is revealed throughout Scripture from the beginning and recognized in what Jesus called the greatest commandment,
“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ And He (Jesus) said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'” – Matthew 22:36-40
Wow! It does not get much clearer than that. It is about relationships! First to God your Father and Creator and then to others. This involves a conscious decision to acknowledge who God is (our Father and Lord) and who we are created to be (His children). In our Scripture reading today Solomon says the beginning of this divine reconciliation is “The fear of the LORD”.
The Book of Proverbs is a reminder that we have been created with the capacity to think and learn and make our own choices. This is contrary to an old school critique of the Christian faith. Many have said people who believe in God or following the principles of Scripture must put their mind in neutral and be blindly “follow the leader”. The Scripture tells us that this is not only untrue and, in fact, the opposite of what it means to follow Jesus.
We are challenged from cover to cover in the Bible to “think” and to “study” and to “investigate”…to use the wonderful minds that God has given us. Faith is a decision that we make not a feeling that we follow blindly. Jesus was always educating and making sure people knew what it meant to follow Him and to embark on a life of faith. Many walked away from His call to follow because of His honesty of what was required. Solomon agrees with the critics and with Jesus when He says, “fools despise wisdom and instruction”.
Having said this we must be reminded that the Bible was not written to prove that there is a God…that is a given. Creation shouts that Truth out loud and clear. David said, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1). Therefore, as we read above, the Bible is written to give us wisdom, instruction, insight, knowledge and understanding! That’s right! God wants you to KNOW! The Bible actually describes our sinful condition as one of ignorance not enlightenment. It describes us as “sheep without a shepherd” by Isaiah and Jesus Himself. It is the unbeliever that must put aside learning and wisdom to follow the ways of our sinful pride not the other way around.
The Scripture challenges us to come to God with all your heart and…with all your MIND. Yes, Proverbs is a good source of wisdom and instruction, but all of the Bible calls us to “Think about it”!