1. The wise person fears the Lord and accepts wisdom and instruction; he takes advice; trusts in the Lord with all his heart and acknowledges the Lord in all his dealings. This person does not see himself as the primary source for what he believes and does. He recognizes his own inadequacies and God’s superior wisdom. He is teachable; He accepts counsel and correction.
2. The fool despises wisdom and instruction; his way seems right to him; he is wise in his own eyes; he does not fear the Lord; and he does not accept advice and counsel unless it agrees with what he already concludes — he thinks he knows better. He is in danger of becoming a mocker who scoffs at rebuke.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).
A choice for wisdom is a response to the Lord; a choice to fear the Lord. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity” (Proverbs 2:1-7).
The beginning of wisdom
The fear of the Lord is “the beginning,” of wisdom — not in the sense that it is the first step and after taken you move on to other matters. It’s “the beginning” in that it is the primary and controlling factor in the pursuit of wisdom. To gain wisdom you must start with an attitude that recognizes God’s superiority, especially over your own opinions.
Think of the fear of the Lord as the pre-requisite to every right attitude. “…This truth keeps the shrewdness of proverbs from slipping into mere self-interest, the perplexity of Job from mutiny, and the disillusion of Ecclesiastes from final despair.” (The Wisdom of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes, Derek Kidner).
- Proverbs 3:11-12– “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Relate this to Hebrews 12)
- Proverbs 10:8 – “The wise in heart accepts commands”
- Proverbs 12:15 – “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”
- Proverbs 13:10– “Wisdom is found in those who take advice”
- Proverbs 15:5– “A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.”
- Proverbs 15:31-33– “He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding. The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”
- Proverbs 18:1– “He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.”
- Proverbs 18:2– “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”