In this world, knowledge is often associated with the sciences; truth a subjective matter, dependant upon one’s perceptions. It seems ironic then, how we claim to know truth through the sciences, yet deny the truth of life. Arguments will abound at such a statement, but if truth is not objective, then neither are the sciences from which “truth” stems.
…for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behaviour,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young…
— Proverbs 1:2-4
I haven’t read the book of Proverbs for a long time; yet, as I read these opening words, I wonder why not. These words jump out at me, screaming, “Fool, where did you go? All you desire is right here!” Indeed, the search for knowledge, for understanding, for insight, for wisdom does not begin much further than the words of God kept for generation upon generation.
The criteria for wisdom is far from an academic mind nor an aged experience of life. Rather, Proverbs avails itself for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young. The great irony of the book of Proverbs is its source—Solomon, son of David, king of Israel. If you accept that he also wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, then we should find ourselves humbled by a man who pursued everything in life and concludes:
Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
— Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
In fact, it mirrors the closing of his introduction:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
— Proverbs 1:7
So, the journey begins by fearing God, the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the God of generation upon generations. My friends, if nothing else, I am humbled and reminded by the riches and depths of Scriptures.
The Christian life is a life of truth—everlasting truth. However, it comes with a cost. For the fear of the Lord comes with ridicule and mockery as the world grows ever further from the truth, labelling Christians as fools who despise the knowledge and truth of the world. Yet, as the truth of the world is changing, our truth stands firm, though not static. The truth of God is active and alive, a journey, a process, with which we grow. As Solomon said:
…let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance…
— Proverbs 1:5