The other side of this truth concerning the fear of the Lord demonstrates something in Hebrew wisdom literature that might offer a double comparison, where the same concept had repeated statements but in a slightly different way to provide a fuller understanding. A similar tool used in Hebrew literature was to provide contrast. In this case, it is like the other side of the same coin. The truth of the practical wisdom is heightened by siting the contrast, usually with the connective word, but. So, the second section of Proverbs 1:7 is: but, fools despise wisdom and instruction. There are three words for fool in the book of Proverbs. One indicates a sluggish, unmotivated, dullness toward God's wisdom. The second refers to one who lacks spiritual perception (the untrained), and the third speaks of one who is arrogant, flippant, and resistant to God's wisdom. This is the word used for fool in this verse. So, the person who remains arrogant and selfishly resistant to God and his wisdom is considered a fool. Rather than humbly acknowledge that their Creator has wisely designed them and the dynamics of successful living, they arrogantly dismiss and reject the counsel of God, thus despising wisdom and instruction.
Take a few moments to reflect on these contrasting truths and think of how you have seen this play out in life. We have seen, experienced, heard, or read about those who have experienced a good family of origin, with good father and mother. The children followed their example and reaped the benefits in life in relationships and careers. We have also seen the contrasting stories, where the kids had terrible, abusive, or neglectful parents. Then, they followed in the parents footsteps. On the other hand, there are those stories where the opposite of each is true, good parents, bad kids, bad parents, good kids! Why? It comes down to this. How do I respond to and engage in my relationship with God? I can learn from good parents or bad parents (though it is much harder to do the latter), if I humbly pursue and follow the Lord- fear the Lord.
In what kind of atmosphere did you grow up? Loving, exemplary, nurturing parents? Aloof, negligent, dismissive, or abusive parents? You and I have this mental crossroads before us. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but, fools despise wisdom and instruction. Which path will you take? What does that look like for you? Where is your support system to help make it a reality?
Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.