Over the next several years you will spend much time gathering knowledge at school. Already you have learned to read. I remember just a couple of years ago when you were learning your letters. Education is a great thing and your understanding of things will greatly increase as you spend time studying. But, there is a truth that many people don’t know. The beginning of knowledge is not about knowing your ABCs or being able to count to 100. Real knowledge begins with fearing the Lord. Listen to what it says in Proverbs.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
What does it mean to fear the Lord? I think in a nutshell fear of the Lord means having such a respect for Him that you are afraid to disappoint Him. Not because He is going to crack you if you mess up (though He may sometime), but out of your love for Him and your understanding of how great He is you obey Him. If there are 100 things you need to know in this life, the first one on the list is “Joshua must fear the Lord.” Foolish people despise wisdom and they despise discipline. Wise people love both. Foolish people don’t fear God. Wise people do.
If we could stand before Him and know how great He really is we would understand what it means to fear Him. Every person who has ever seen a glimpse of Him was absolutely blown away and they fell on their faces in His presence. They feared Him. They revered Him. They loved Him. They obeyed Him. They possessed the beginning of knowledge.
Letters to Josh is a series of letters written from a dad to his son Josh trying to capture some of the important life lessons he wanted to pass on. These letters are a bit random in nature but each is written to address a key issue in the development of a young man. These letters are written from a very imperfect father whose love knows no bounds for his son. These letters are shared with you (the reader) only because we hope that the things we are learning and thinking through will help you and your sons.
Image credit: Meghan Anderson-Colangelo
Tim Howington is is a thinker, encourager, and seeker. A former full time minister, he is currently in the restaurant business by day and a part time writer by night. You can find him blogging at www.thehowitzerrants.com and ReadyAimLife.com. He lives with his wife of 20+ years and son in NW Arkansas with two cats and golden retriever.
5 thoughts on “[LETTERS TO JOSH] Knowledge Begins with Fearing the Lord”
Wisdom and religion are two separate things. Having religion makes you no more wise than having wisdom makes you religious. This is yet another example of the contradictions that have become the modern Bible. In the passage quoted fear of the Lord is necessary yet in many other passages throughout the Bible the Lord is referred to as loving and a benevolent being. Why would you fear a loving and benevolent being? This kind of logic is false logic and contradictory. What is important is to teach our children what is wrong and right, not because religion dictates it rather because it is what we believe is morally necessary to function as an evolving and enlightened society. Lastly on another note your profile statement claiming yourself as a thinker is an insult to thinkers and freethinkers everywhere. A thinker wouldn’t teach children they need to be morale because of a fear of the Lord. They would teach them being morale is out of respect for our fellow human being. Religion while it can have a place in morality is not and should not be a means to an end. If history has taught us anything about religion it is that religion does not and has not brought us morality any more than it brought righteousness. We can teach morality but ultimately cannot dictate it.
I dunno about you, but growing up, I had a fear of my dad – not the “I’m scared of my dad” type of fear, but the fear that keeps me in line because I knew I’d get a “spanking” if I did wrong. The “fear” of the Lord is not the type of fear a scary fear, but rather, a fear of respect. God’s bigger than me – I’m freaked out because if I step out of line, He’ll discipline me.
You’re right, God is righteous and loving – and because He is, he must be just – it would be stupid for a dad or any authority figure to say “well, I know you did wrong, but because I’m loving, I’ll let you off the hook”. That’s the reason we need Christ – because we’re all doomed to eternal punishment because of the sin that separates us from God. According to God, it requires perfection to be “good” enough. I know for sure that I’m not perfect – I’ve lied, lusted, been disrespectful, etc. I’ve failed to be perfect – Christ came to die for that sin so that by accepting his payment for that sin, I could have a relationship with God again. I don’t know if you believe in hell (the eternal lake of fire), but that’s the punishment that all of mankind has deserved for their sin – I don’t want that punishment – I need a Savior.
On your “last part”: Morality cannot be taught without an authority. How can I say what’s right and what’s wrong if there’s no absolute truth? If I say it’s wrong to steal, what stops the thief from saying “who says?”. I certainly can’t say – I have no authority over that person. No, I need to be able to have a reinforcing authority – which is the Bible.
Matthew, I hope you see my point. The fear of the Lord is a VERY important to rearing a child – but more important is the relationship with and dependence on Christ that saves me from eternal punishment.
I respectfully disagree with your opinion…sorry I just picked the comments up! I stand by my assertion.
The fear of the Lord IS the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
It seems from my vantage that most fools that I observe have persuaded themselves that there is not a God and that they are accountable to no one. Which is exactly what the verse says.
Related to your comments about my thinking ability and I quote- “Lastly on another note your profile statement claiming yourself as a thinker is an insult to thinkers and freethinkers everywhere. A thinker wouldn’t teach children they need to be morale because of a fear of the Lord. They would teach them being morale is out of respect for our fellow human being. Religion while it can have a place in morality is not and should not be a means to an end. If history has taught us anything about religion it is that religion does not and has not brought us morality any more than it brought righteousness. We can teach morality but ultimately cannot dictate it.”
Why am I an insult to a “thinker”? Because I have a different idea than you or your group of acceptable thinkers? That seems to be more of an insult to thinkers than anything I have heard in a while. Last time I checked, it is acceptable to have different ideas.
Thanks for the Comments