I’m not sure how many of you actively read the Scriptures or have dived into the Book of Proverbs, but it is full of wisdom and insights for our lives. As I was reading Proverbs this past Fall, I had the thought that perhaps you all would like to go on the journey with me; and so I present the first post of who knows how many in a new series I am calling Proverbs Omnibus.
Omnibus (adj.) – Comprising many things. (Source: Google)
1. The Beginning of Knowledge
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:7 (ESV)
As a society in America, we place so much value on education. We start Kindergarten at age 4 or 5, possibly preschool at 3, and require kids to go to school until they are legal adults at 18. But aside from the legal requirements, we have a type of cultural peer-pressure to continue our education. This comes in the form of friends and family asking which college we want to go to; the choice of going to college for 4+ more years is just assumed. It’s also pressured through the job market. It used to be that a 6th or 8th grade education was sufficient (and that generation went to the moon using 1960’s technology), then you needed a High School diploma or GED to get a decent job. Now, if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree it’s hard to even get an entry level position. At this rate, if we continue the trend you’ll need a Master’s just to have a shot at getting work.
But Solomon is painting a different picture of knowledge. He’s saying that all knowledge begins with honoring the Lord God. There is a false rivalry between faith and science. Many in the Church believe that science is invalid because it denies the Christian belief in creation, the flood, etc. Likewise, many in the secular and scientific communities disregard Christianity because we are science deniers. I take a different position. I see science as a means to better understand the power and authority of God. That when we read Genesis 1:1,
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
God was creating the neutrons, atoms, physics, the laws of thermodynamics, gravity, and everything else we think we understand. It reveals His majesty and just how far beyond us He really is.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9 (ESV)
2. Listen to Your Parents
“Here, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head.” – Proverbs 1:8-9 (ESV)
Okay, so immediately our minds go to the children. We tell the little kids, “Make sure you listen to your parents and do what they tell you!” That’s great advice (unless of course the parent is telling the kids to willfully sin and do evil), and I would say the same thing. However, what about us as adults? See, from my experience and that of people I know, we hit around 20 or so, and assume that we know what we’re doing. We’re adults, living on our own (usually) and because we’ve taken a few college classes we think we know more about life and the way the world works than our parents. But why do we think that? It may not be a conscious thought, in fact I think for most of us it isn’t. Yet either way, because our parents are at least 20 years older than we are, and they listen to music that we can’t stand, and they have (usually) settled down and have responsibilities that keep them from the spontaneity of youth we assume that they we are doing life differently; we’re young and progressive, and they are older and see things as they used to be.
As a dad who is now in his early 30’s, allow me to tell all of you who are teens or in your 20’s that I know that feeling and it’s wrong. It’s a reflection of immaturity that is empowered by a spirit of pride. It takes humility to recognize that your parents still know more about life than you do (at least in certain aspects). My mom knows more about dealing with strong willed boys than I do because I’m working through them and she finished that journey when I moved out. If I have tax or accounting questions I can scour the Internet, call the local tax preparer (and pay a lot of money for advice), or I can call mom because she knows what I’m trying to do and will teach me to do it right.
Just yesterday, I called my dad because my wireless network got hacked. I would usually look to Google for answers, but the hacker changed our wireless key and I couldn’t get online. The solutions were either go somewhere that has a hotspot and go back and forth trying to fix it, call Time Warner to come back out and fix the problem (and, again, pay a lot of money) or call my dad who has done this kind of stuff since the mid-1990’s.
I know these are practical examples of listening to the teaching of your parents, but as adults, I think it’s important to remember that our parents aren’t old and outdated. They just have a different skill set and breadth of knowledge than we may have in our generation.