What is the topic, the motto and the core idea of the book "Proverbs"? What is the core of our journey with God revealed to us in this book?
It is the fear of the Lord. If you had to sum up the entire book of Proverbs with just one verse, which one would it be? “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. The fools despise wisdom and discipline ” (Proverbs 1,7) , Sayings 9,10 expresses something similar: "To the wisdom beginning is the fear of the LORD, and to know the saints, that is understanding."
The fear of the Lord is the simplest truth in the book of Proverbs.
If we do not have the fear of the Lord then we will have no wisdom, understanding and knowledge. What is the fear of the Lord? It sounds like a contrast. For one thing, God is love and, on the other, we are called to fear Him. Does this mean that God is intimidating, scary, and uncanny? How can I have a relationship with someone I am afraid of?
Worship, respect and miracles
The first line of sayings 1,7 is a little difficult to understand, because here's the concept "Fear" doesn't necessarily come to mind when we think of God. The translated word "fear", which appears in many Bible translations, comes from the Hebrew word "yirah". This word has many meanings. Sometimes it means the fear we feel when we face a great danger and / or pain, but it can also mean "veneration" and "awe". Which of these translations should we use for verse 7? The context is important here. The meaning of "fear" in our case is explained here in the second part of the verse: foolish despise wisdom and discipline. The key word here is to despise, which can also mean that you consider someone insignificant or despise him. It can also be used to describe someone who is stubborn, proud and contentious and who believes that he is always right (Proverbs 14,3; 12,15).
Raymond Ortl writes in his book Proverbs: "It's a word of aversion and a relationship-based detachment. It's the arrogance that makes you feel above average and too smart, too good and too busy for worship and reverence. "
CS Lewis describes this kind of attitude in his book Pardon, I'm a Christian: "How do you meet someone who is above you in every respect? If you do not perceive and know God in this way, and consequently perceive and know yourself as nothing, you do not know God. As long as you are proud, you can not know God. A proud person always looks down on people and things and as long as you look down, you can not see what is above them. "
"The fear of the Lord" does not mean intimidated shudders before the Lord, as if God were an angry tyrant. The word fear here means veneration and reverence. Worship means to have great respect and honor to someone. The word "reverence" is a concept that is hard to identify with today, but it is a wonderful biblical word. It contains the ideas of wonder, astonishment, mystery, wonder, gratitude, admiration and even reverence. It means being speechless. The way one reacts when one encounters or experiences something that one has never experienced before and can not put into words immediately.
It reminds me of the feeling I felt when I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time. Nothing could express in words the feeling of admiration that I felt when I saw the great beauty of God and His creation before me. Great is an understatement. Adjectives like glorious, exuberant, overwhelming, fascinating, captivating, breathtaking can describe these mountain ranges. I was without words when I looked from above at the huge river that was more than a mile below me. The beauty and vivid colors of the rocks and the great diversity of flora and fauna - all this together made me speechless. No part of the Grand Canyon is available a second time. His colors, which were diverse and complex at one point, changed their spectrum over and over again as the sun went down. I had never seen anything like it before. At the same time it scared me a little, because I felt so small and insignificant.
That's the kind of astonishment that the word reverence implies. But this wonder comes not only from the creation of God, but refers to this being, which is perfect and in every way unique and overwhelming. That has always been perfect, is perfect now and always will be perfect. Everything about God should turn our thoughts into wonder and admiration, and evoke our full respect. Through grace and mercy and through his infinite, unconditional love for us, we were welcomed in the arms and in the heart of God. It is wonderful, Jesus humbled himself for us and even died for us. He would have done it even if you were the only person in this world. He is your Redeemer. Not only does he love you because you are here in the world, but you are here in the world because he has brought you into this world and loves you. The entire creation of God is wonderful, but you are at the center of texts in which - as in Psalm 8 - it is about the Trinity of God. We as weak, frail people can only respond with "Wow!".
"I have seen the Lord"
Augustine was an early Christian theologian who wrote a lot about the amazing wonders of God. One of his most important works is called "De civitate Dei" (to German from the state of God). On his deathbed as his closest friends gathered around him, a miraculous feeling of peace filled the room. Suddenly his eyes opened to those who were in the room and he shone with a bright face that he had seen the Lord and everything he had written down could not do him justice. Afterwards he slept peacefully, Proverbs 1,7: 9,10 and speak of it, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. This means that knowledge and wisdom can only be based on the fear of the Lord and cannot exist without it. It is the necessary prerequisite so that we can tackle our daily life. The fear of the Lord is the beginning: "The fear of the LORD is a source of life, that one should avoid the ropes of death" (Spr14,27) , If you marvel and respect God for what he is, your knowledge and wisdom will continue to grow. Without the fear of the Lord, we deprive ourselves of this treasure of wisdom and knowledge of God. The Bible Hope for All translates to verse 7: "All knowledge begins with reverence for the Lord."
In Kenneth Graham's children's book classic "The Wind in the Willows", the main characters - Rat and Mole - are in search of a baby otter and stumble into the presence of God.
Suddenly the mole felt a great reverence, turning its muscles into water, bending its head and rooting its feet in the ground. He was not panicked, it felt peaceful and happy. "Rat," he whispered again, shaking, "Are you scared?" "Scared?" Muttered Rat, eyes filled with indescribable love. "Fear! In front of him? Never! And yet ... oh mole, I'm scared! "Then the two animals bowed their heads to the ground and prayed.
If you too want to experience God with this humility and be awesome, then the good news is you can. But don't try to do this yourself. Ask God to put this fear in you (Phil2,12-13). Pray for it every day. Meditate on the miracles of God. God and his creation are miraculous. The fear of the Lord is our reaction to it when we realize who God really is and when we see the huge difference between ourselves and God. He will leave you speechless.
by Gordon Green