Two Ways of Life

KEY VERSE: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but the fools despise wisdom and instruction.” —Proverbs 1:7

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 1:7; 14:1-12

THE proverbs of Solomon, even though not written as prophecies, were nevertheless inspirationally prepared by God for our learning. Verification of this is well established in the many quotations that appear from them in the New Testament writings.

In the proverb of this lesson, the first six verses speak of their object as being that of instruction, especially for the unlearned, to teach them true wisdom, of justice, and of acting with righteousness and equity. It is pointed out that a teachable attitude of heart, and a desire for truth are basic necessities for progressing in Godly wisdom.

The forepart of verse seven is a quotation from one of his father, David’s, psalms. (Ps. 111:10) Here the word ‘fear’ is better translated in the sense of reverence, a word which expresses much greater beauty and meaning in our relationship with God. For centuries, nominal Christianity has interpreted the Scriptures in such a way as to describe God in terms which instilled fear in the hearts of believers. The cruelty and hardness of heart erroneously ascribed to God’s justice, warranted in their minds their long history of atrocities perpetrated in the name of Christ, and their methods of subjection and rule through fear.

In more recent times, many, not willing to subscribe to a belief in a God less benevolent than themselves, have taken the “foolish” (Titus 3:3) position of saying that there is no God. Thus it is that one of the peculiarities of our day is the lack of reverence which manifests itself not only by the unbelieving world, but also to a great extent amongst those who still profess to be Christians. As mankind awakes from the superstitions of the past, finding that it has been too prejudiced and fearful, it now goes to the opposite extreme of doubt, skepticism, and irreverence for God and his Word.

An attitude of reverence and love for God is the starting point for knowledge. It should always be remembered that our knowledge of God, of his plans and purposes, is dependent upon something other than a brilliant mind. The world contains many brilliant minds, which cannot grasp even the rudiments of the divine plan of the ages. Why is this so? The reason is simple. They possess human knowledge, but the things of God are spiritually discerned. Spiritual enlightenment came to Jesus when the Holy Spirit came upon him at his baptism. Matthew recorded that “Jesus, when he was baptized went up straight-way out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him,” expressing the thought that from that time onward the plans and purposes of God were made known unto him.

As with the Lord, so with us. A familiar quotation from the pen of the Apostle Paul reads: “The Spirit explores everything, even the depths of God’s own nature. Among men, who knows what a man is but the man’s own spirit?” (II Cor. 2:10,11, NEB) In the same way, only the Spirit of God reveals what God is. This is the Spirit that we have received from God, so that we may know all that God of his own grace gives us, and because we are interpreting spiritual truths to those who have the Spirit. We speak of these gifts of God in words found for use not by our human wisdom, but by the Spirit. “A man who is unspiritual refuses what belongs to the Spirit of God. It is folly to him—he cannot grasp it, because it needs to be judged in the light of the Spirit.”—I Cor. 2:11-14, NEB

The “key of knowledge” is a common expression. It is also found in the Bible. (Luke 11:52) It is not a key that opens up knowledge, but rather knowledge is the key—the key that can open ‘understanding’. Jesus said, “This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) The Bible is our source of spiritual knowledge. When, through the enlightening ability of the Holy Spirit, its pages reveal to us God’s divine plan of the ages, we are made “wise unto salvation.”—II Tim. 3:15

This is a privilege reserved for those who have a deep reverence and love for God.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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