"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" The Theme Of Proverbs (1:7) INTRODUCTION 1. In our previous study we considered the purpose of the book of Proverbs... a. To know wisdom, perceive words of understanding - Pr 1:2 b. To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity - Pr 1:3 c. To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion - Pr 1:4 d. To increase learning for a wise man, to give counsel to a man of understanding - Pr 1:5 e. To understand proverbs and enigmas, the words of the wise and their riddles - Pr 1:6 2. In this study, we shall focus our attention on the theme of the book... a. Found in verse 7 (read) b. Stated in the form of antithetical parallelism c. In which the repeated terms of a poetic couplet are opposite in meaning d. Typical of thought rhyme (as opposed to word rhyme) found in Hebrew poetry [We first note that it is "the fear of the LORD" which is...] I. THE BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE A. THE FEAR OF THE LORD EXPLAINED... 1. The term yara' (fear) is the common word for fear in the OT and has a basic three-fold range of meanings - as per the NET Bible a. Dread, terror - Deut 1:29; Jon 1:10 b. To stand in awe (in reference to a king) - 1Ki 3:28 c. To revere, to respect (in regards to parents) - Lev 19:3 2. Notice when God descended upon Sinai amid geophysical convulsions - cf. Exo 20:18-20 a. Moses encouraged the Israelites to not be afraid of God arbitrarily striking them dead for no reason ("Do not fear!") b. He informed them that the Lord revealed Himself in such a terrifying manner to scare them from sinning ("God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.") 3. Thus there is also a place for such fear of the Lord in the life of a Christian a. We should fear God, not man - Mt 10:28 b. The early church walked in the fear of the Lord - Ac 9:31 c. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling - Php 2:12 d. We should be fearful of apostasy, serving God with godly fear - He 10:26-31; 12:28-29 -- The fear of the LORD is expressed in reverential submission to his will - NET Bible B. THE FEAR OF THE LORD ESTEEMED... 1. From the book of Proverbs we learn concerning the fear of the Lord: a. It is the beginning of knowledge - Pr 1:7 b. It will cause one to hate evil - Pr 8:13 c. It will prolong life - Pr 10:27 d. It provides strong confidence and is a fountain of life - Pr 14:26-27 e. It prompts one to depart from evil - Pr 16:6 f. It leads to a satisfying life, and spares one from much evil - Pr 19:23 g. It is the way to riches, honor, and life! - Pr 22:4 2. Thus without the fear of the Lord: a. We deprive ourselves of the treasures of God's wisdom and knowledge b. We will flirt with evil and be corrupted by it c. Our lives are likely to be shortened by our refusal to heed God's word (e.g., suffering sexually transmitted diseases if we do not heed His Word on sexual relationships) d. We will not come to know the love of God that gives us assurance and confidence of our salvation e. When fallen into sin, we will not be motivated to repent and turn to God! f. We will not be motivated to truly "work out our own salvation" -- The fear of the Lord should be a highly regarded and sought after trait to develop! [The fear of the Lord serves as the beginning or principal part of becoming truly wise. Now let's notice the second half of verse 7 which reveals...] II. THE WAY OF FOLLY A. THE FOOLISH DESPISE WISDOM... 1. The Hebrew word 'evil (fool) refers to a person characterized by moral folly - NET Bible 2. It is an adjective meaning foolish in the sense of one who hates wisdom and walks in folly, despising wisdom and morality - TCWD 3. This foolish disdain for wisdom expressed elsewhere in Proverbs - Pr 1:22; 17:16; 18:2 -- For one to despise the wisdom of God (such as found in this book) is truly foolish! B. THE FOOLISH DISREGARD INSTRUCTION... 1. Not interested in wisdom, they are unwilling to heed the counsel of others 2. As expressed by the voice of wisdom herself - cf. Pr 1:25,30 3. Lack of such counsel leads to defeat and failure - Pr 11:14; 15:22 4. The fool listens only to his own heart - Pr 12:15 5. But wisdom and delight can be attained through the counsel of others - Pr 19:20; 27:9 -- In the book of Proverbs, the fool is characterized mostly by his or her unwillingness to listen to the advice of others (God, parents, friends, etc.) CONCLUSION 1. Here then is the underlying theme throughout the book of Proverbs... a. Develop the fear of the Lord if you desire to become truly wise b. Discount the warnings and counsel of others, and you will be a fool! 2. As Christians, let us be truly wise by developing the fear of the Lord... a. For His knowledge has given us great and precious promises - cf. 2Pe 1:2-4 b. It behooves us to perfect holiness in the fear of God - cf. 2 Co7:1 Shall we be wise, or shall we be fools...?