Imagine being an early explorer in North America, standing at the confluence of the Mississippi River as it pours into the Gulf of Mexico. As you ponder the power and expanse of this river, over a mile wide at this point, you wonder where it comes from. If you were to undertake this adventure, your journey would take you over 2,300 miles north to a small tributary (in what is now northern Minnesota) that is only 20 feet across, and a small child could joyfully splash across from one side to the other. What would be the first thing you would want to take with you? A map, so you know where to go!
As we begin our journey to seek knowledge from God’s Word, we have no idea where to begin. Thankfully, Solomon, one of the wisest men recorded in God’s Word, gives us clear and concise directions to the headwaters of knowledge:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” Proverbs 1:7a (NIV)
The “fear of the Lord” that Solomon refers to is not terror, but awe, honor, and deep respect for God. Solomon knows that all knowledge comes from God, and therefore, he gives reverence and respect to the All-Knowing One.
Just as a loving father would never try to teach his kids to swim by throwing them into the main channel of the Mississippi River with the barge traffic and power boats, so Solomon teaches his son by guiding him to the Source of all knowledge, God Himself. Solomon knew and understood God’s character and love, and knew he could entrust his son to God’s hands.
Whom do you look to for your source of knowledge? Follow Solomon’s directions – you won’t be led astray.