A Vertical, Rather Than a Horizontal Perspective

In our study of Proverbs on Sunday nights, we have come across an interesting truth as it relates to one of the most familiar scriptures in the Bible. Proverbs 1:7, who some say is the key verse in all of Proverbs, reads, “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (NKJV)Bruce Waltke defines the “fear of the Lord” as, “that affectionate reverance, by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to the Fathers’ law.” He goes on to share that the beginning of knowledge contains the idea of a personal relationship with God rather than only a head knowledge of God. In other words, the reverence and humily we feel for the Lord is what is the foundation for our on-going relationship with Him.

When you think about something being the “beginning” what do you think of? Some would say its like the first thing that you do, and then you accomplish sequential steps in the process, each time moving on and leaving the old behind. This would be like running the bases on a baseball field. Once you hit first base, you leave it behind and move on to second, then third, then you come home and a run scores! The word “beginning” in Proverbs 1:7 is not describing a horizontal journey in which you begin by fearing the Lord. Instead, the word “beginning” in Proverbs is describing a vertical picture. It’s like a stack pole in which “fearing the Lord” is at the bottom of the vertical stack pole and everything else is stacked upon that foundational truth. Proverbs is saying that you begin your relationship with the Lord by being in awe of Him and you never leave that behind. It actually is the foundation upon which your entire relationship with God exists. Our relationship with Jesus Christ begins with us walking in the fear of the Lord. We humbly veiw his incredible glory and want our lives to line up with His Word and His Ways. If you and I will hold on to our initial overwhelming view of Almighty God, we will be able to build our christian lives upon that solid foundation. Any other foundation will ultimately crumble, most likely sooner than later. We should be so grateful for the close intimate relationship that we have with Jesus, but we should never let ourselves swell with pride that we forget His incredible glory and power. Our ability to know Him intimately is not of our doing, but is the result of His marvelous grace. Isn’t He Awesome?