5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Wisdom is the ability to make good decisions, or at least not make bad ones. How much wisdom is enough? Your life may be quite comfortable, but does that mean you have nothing to learn? Circumstances will challenge you sooner or later, will you be able to handle them? When life catches you by surprise, what will prevent you from making bad decisions? The wiser you are, the more willing to listen and add to your learning. Through seasons of blessing and of suffering, the wise person learns and the discerning seeks guidance. “Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” Whatever you are going through, do not let the lessons be wasted.
“For understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.” Proverbs are like hard candy. Not to be swallowed whole, their sweetness takes time to savor. This is even more true of parables and riddles. Like a gem with many facets – their beauty is found through contemplation. Proverbs, parables and riddles may be hard to understand, but those who ponder them are rewarded. “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance.”
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The fool thinks highly of himself, and believes he has nothing to learn. He holds himself accountable to no one, and hates it when others correct him. To fear the Lord is to submit to his authority, and seek to understand his ways. The Lord is the divine author, he has revealed himself in his work. Everything has its place. From the smallest particle to the immeasurable galaxy, from judgment to forgiveness. Fear of the Lord is an act of humility, an acceptance of your proper place. “A proud man,” on the other hand, “is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”