The Beginning of Knowledge

Old Testament: 1 & 2 Samuel Intro Below

Poetry: Proverbs 1

New Testament: Luke 20

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  (Proverbs 1:7) This seems like such a simple verse, and yet how I misunderstood it for so long as I didn’t think of the LORD as the Father alone. It’s so important to first fear and love the LORD/YHVH, and yet so many believe in a twisted version like I did.  I recently read the golden calf incident to our grandkids and was reminded that they called the golden calf, YHVH! And as the rest of the verse says, “fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Many don’t want to be corrected for being wrong, I know I sure didn’t want to be at first. ☹ Fearing YHVH is just the BEGINNING of knowledge! We should continually be willing to learn wisdom and gain instruction no matter our age. “Fools hate knowledge.” (1:22)

Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD.” (1:28,29)

We must continue to choose to fear the LORD and not despise knowledge.  I am encouraged in reading the Scriptures how it helps us by continually pointing us in the right direction. 

Jesus’s goal was to fear the LORD. The chief priests and scribes sought to destroy him. “They watched him and even sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on his words, in order to deliver him to the power and the authority of the governor.”  (Luke 20:20) 

Jesus walked about in the streets of Jerusalem and here I am some years ago doing just that. All of our 5 children were born in Israel, four in Jerusalem and our first in Bethlehem (like Ruth’s first;).

They could not catch him in his words in the presence of the people.” (Luke 20:26) “He taught the way of God in truth.” (20:21) Such fear of God he had, giving us an example and thus providing wisdom and instruction. How can we fear God more in our daily lives? And be more open for wisdom and instruction?

-Stephanie Schlegel

Reflection Questions

  1. How can we fear God more in our daily lives? And be more open for wisdom and instruction?
  2. In Jesus’ example and in his teaching how did he display and teach fearing God?
  3. In order to have a proper fear of the LORD we need to have an understanding of who He is, what He does, what He desires so we don’t end up calling something the LORD/YHVH that isn’t. What do we learn about God in today’s passages? Why is the Bible the perfect place to find out who He is? What else is the Bible useful for?

1st & 2nd Samuel Introduction

The books of First and Second Samuel are named after the man Samuel – the last judge of Israel (1 Samuel 7:15), a prophet (1 Samuel 9:9), priest (1 Samuel 3:1), and kingmaker (1 Samuel 10:1; 1Samuel 16:13).  Samuel oversaw the transition from Israel’s being ruled by Judges to it’s being ruled by a king.  As a prophet, priest, and ruler, the man Samuel was a foreshadowing of Christ. 

We don’t know who wrote the books of First and Second Samuel.  But whoever wrote them clearly had inside information about Samuel, and Kings Saul and David, since the books record such detailed information about each, including what they were thinking, in addition to what they did and said.

From the time of Moses until Samuel, Israel was a theocracy – a nation ruled by God.  1 Samuel 8 details Israel’s rejection of God as king, when they wanted a king to lead them “like all the other nations have” (1 Samuel 8:5).  God let them go their sinful way by telling Samuel in 1 Samuel 8:7, “…Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.”  God then led Samuel to anoint Saul as King.  He was tall and strong – impressive from any human standpoint, and was just the type of king the people wanted.  Unfortunately, he didn’t follow God wholeheartedly.

It wasn’t that God didn’t want Israel to have a king, it was just that the timing wasn’t right.  God eventually directed Samuel to Jesse’s family to anoint the next king to replace Saul.  1 Samuel 16:6-7 records, “When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”  God then directed Samuel to anoint David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), to be the next king over Israel.

Some of the more familiar passages in 1 & 2 Samuel include:

1 Samuel 3 – God calling Samuel

1 Samuel 17 – David and Goliath

1 Samuel 28 – Saul and the Witch of Endor

2 Samuel 7 – God’s promise to establish an eternal dynasty for David

2 Samuel 11 – David and Bathsheba

2 Samuel 15 – Absalom’s conspiracy

2 Samuel 22 – David’s song of praise

Even though David wasn’t sinless (e.g. David and Bathsheba), he was called a man after God’s own heart because he put God first and sought to live for God.  I challenge you to live your life like David, who was able to say in 2 Samuel 22:21-25, “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.  I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.”

-Steve Mattison

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