The grid through which to view life
By Pastor Russ Gaar
Evangelical Free Church, Grant
King Solomon of ancient Israel is widely considered the wisest man to ever live, unless you count the only perfect man, Jesus Christ. Solomon wrote the majority of the book of Proverbs. He also authored Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes. If anyone would know the key to living a wise life, it would be Solomon. So consider with me the key verse in Proverbs.
Here, we have a grid for how we ought to see and approach life. Proverbs 1:7—“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Solomon tells us that nothing is more central in life than the fear of the Lord.
Solomon says the quest for wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord! The choice to fear the Lord is what separates the foolish from the wise! According to the wisdom of Solomon, there are wise people and foolish people. The fool has a problem; his problem is that he stands by himself, without others and without God. He doesn’t see a need for other resources, he recognizes no other authority for himself, other than himself; he despises wisdom and instruction.
John Kitchen writes of the fool: “He has chosen to live in God’s world without God. His world view is skewed. He is disconnected from reality. He is fighting against the gravitational pull of God’s nature, the laws He has fixed in the nature of His creation, and His sovereign purposes for man.”
Are you living in God’s world, without God?
Think about it! To live in God’s world and yet not recognize God or pursue God or (as Solomon says) fear the Lord—is to be a fool! Here’s Solomon’s reasoning: If you are striving to live life without God, in God’s world, then you are a fool! The fool is not someone who is mentally deficient; rather, his problem is spiritual! He despises looking at life with God as supreme; this is utter foolishness according to Solomon.
The fear of the Lord is the foundation from which we are to live our lives. In a biblical understanding, the fear of the Lord is not so much an emotional response, but a world view, an attitude of the heart. The fear of the Lord is the grid through which we view all of life! God, as Creator, is central! Dan Phillips writes: “[The fear of the LORD] is a world view; it is the grid through which we perceive, arrange, understand, interpret and interact with the world.”
Is this the way you approach life? Do you approach life by starting with a humble heart before God? Do you approach life with a trembling reverence in your heart that God is great and mighty and awesome? Solomon says that if we have any hope of gaining wisdom, this is where we start!
Fearing God (He is supreme and central) comes first! This attitude of the heart will control, shape, and inform our life and choices. According to Solomon, this is knowledge and wisdom! “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.”
If you fear the Lord, you will see things differently from how others see things! The grid through which most people view life starts with self. For those who fear God, the grid through which you view life starts with God! The grid from which you view life will change the way you perceive, arrange, understand, interpret and interact with the world!
Raymond Ortland writes: “The fear of the Lord is both a doorway and a pathway. It is a new beginning, and it never ends.”
If you want wisdom, start with a proper understanding of God and how you relate to Him! This is God’s world, you can’t live here and be wise, unless God is central in who you are, how you think, and how you live.
I love what Paul David Tripp writes: “To fear God means that my life is structured by a sense of awe, worship, and obedience that flows out of recognizing Him and His glory. He becomes the single most important reference point for all that I desire, think, do, and say. God is my motive and God is my goal. The fear of God is meant to be the central organizing force in my life.”
Will you listen to the wisest man who ever lived? Solomon writes that the “fear of the LORD” is the grid through which a wise person will view all of life!