The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Finally, the prologue lays down the basic foundation for wisdom; it asserts that wisdom begins with the fear of Yahweh. One properly fears Yahweh because he is the most powerful being in the universe. Only fools would not be afraid of a being who has the power of life and death over them. Such persons do not understand their place in the cosmos and thus do not know how to act in the world. All other wisdom builds on this point, and there is no wisdom without it. Indeed, in the words of M.L. Barre, “Fear of Yahweh…is the first step–‘square one’–in the quest for a meaningful existence.”
-Tremper Longman III
For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.
Notice the contrast between the “complacency” of fools and the wise being “at ease.” “Complacency is counterfeit ease,” Raymond C. Ortlund tells us. I like that description. He goes on to say that Jesus is dangerous, but also the easiest person in the universe to get along with. He is easier on you than you are on you. And the price you pay for the true ease of Christ? Reverent listening. It’s that easy, and it’s that challenging.
The act of listening is easy, but in this modern, frenetic society, it is like standing next to an airplane trying to listen to someone on your cell phone. (The airplane engine is running in this example for all you literal and exact people out there like my daughter Gabriela who may be reading this). What’s better and clearer is to get away from the plane to hear.What’s best is to meet in person in a quiet place.
I like Ortlund’s conclusion to this section:
Jesus took these words from Wisdom personified into his own mouth as Wisdom incarnate.He too warned of a storm coming. He told us that everyone who hears him and obeys him will be like a wise man who builds his house on rock (Matthew 7:24-27). When the storm comes, it doesn’t matter, because the rock of grace will hold. But everyone who does not listen will be like a foolish man who builds his life on sand–the sand of “Don’t rush me,” “I’m not that bad,” “I’m too busy right now,” “Maybe later”–the constantly shifting sand of Self. And when the storm comes, that house falls, and catastrophic is its fall.
The parable of the ten servants.
It seems we will be judged for squandering any of the resources we have been given, whether it be our time, our talents, or our money…
How do I spend the majority of my free time?
What do I do with my gifts? Writing, speaking, listening, teaching, organizing…
Where does my money mostly go after paying for food and shelter?