Joe Carter, good brother that he is, had a very clever, creative idea. He asked himself: What if wise King Solomon were the speaker at a graduation ceremony? What sorts of things might he say?
As it turns out, Joe figures that the sagacious sovereign would make a number of disconnected, semi-random observations about life. Joe gets this from his read of the book of Proverbs which, I take it, Joe sees as doing about the same thing. In fact, Joe characterizes Proverbs as "a wildly popular advice book." This is how many people view Proverbs.
And so Solomon's speech is a series of largely disconnected bits of wisdom, including this: "One of the most important things I know is this: Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge."
"One of the most important things I know," he says. Towards the top of a long list. There are many other important things on the list, but this one shares a place at the top, along with them.
As you doubtless know, Proverbs has long been a love of mine. And as you Faithful Readers know, I actually wrote a book on it. In that book I make the case that all of Proverbs actually centers on a particular theme, a theme that Solomon characterizes not as "one of the most important things" he knew, but the most important thing, the sine qua non of knowledge and wisdom. Without that foundational reality at the very start, there's no knowledge and no wisdom.
That theme is the fear of Yahweh.
I say all that to point you to the sermon I recently preached on that verse and that concept. In that sermon I sketch out both the meaning and importance of the idea in all of our thinking. I also show how revolutionary this truth is when it comes to to how we read and understand the book of Proverbs.
A number of you have shared that the Proverbs book has been helpful to you in seeing Proverbs in a new light. In fact, a number have told me that the chapter on the fear of Yahweh is "worth the price of admission" all by itself. Hearing that, to say the least, doesn't ruin my day.
If that sermon and concept, and/or the book, are of any value to you, may I ask you two favors?
- Tweet and blog the link to the sermon.
- Tell people like Joe (though I think Joe himself now knows about it) about the book.
Some of you have said, "I only have a few readers/followers." Sure, I get that; but you read and enjoy writers and pastors and conference speakers who influence a great many. Share this with them, warmly and winsomely and persuasively, and they may thank you for it!