When my son was a toddler, just learning to stand up on his own, all he wanted to do was run. He didn’t want to walk. He ran. He had no fear. He didn’t even have the smart kind of fear. This was scariest when we were at the beach. We’d be setting up our umbrella and picnic blankets, and he’d sprint for the water having no concept of swimming or drowning. He needed to learn a little bit about healthy fear.
One has to learn how to fear God.
In the Old Testament, the fear of God was a guiding principle for every aspect of life for as long as one lives on the earth.
This verse and the verses that follow give the purpose and payoff of Proverbs. It’s an intensely practical book, applicable to every aspect of your life. It’s intellectual. It engages and exercises your brain. It’s moral. Justice, equity, and righteousness are constant themes, because they make sense. There was as much of an appetite for this in the ancient world as there is now. They flow from the heart God, into, and through His people.
Proverbs features three conspicuous characters throughout its pages: the simple, the fool, and the wise. The simple man doesn’t commit, he’s easily misled, and doesn’t apply himself to discipline. This person needs to get Proverbs up and running in his life. The fool is opposed to God’s covenant, resists forgiveness, is a dangerous influence, and causes grief to his parents. The scary thing about the fool is that he moves freely among God’s people. But, believe it or not, he is not beyond hope. The wise person embraces the principles learned in this book. He makes good progress and is an example worth following. God desires that you be a wise person. That’s why He made sure this book has found its way into your hands.
Proverbs begs to be probed, searched, and questioned closely. Proper relation to God involves trying hard to understand His truth and applying what you’ve learned. This book is not written for learning how to live life so that someday you’ll go to heaven when you die. It is written to teach you how to live in the fear of God, in the here and now, until you are present with Him in His kingdom.
Now, go equip others to do the same.