The Fear of the Lord and Crisis

In Prov. 1:24-33, Solomon says that if you do not choose the fear of the Lord, you will lack the wisdom to handle crisis, distress, and anguish. But if you choose the fear of the Lord, you will dwell secure. Fear God and you will live without fear of calamity (v. 33).

D Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, (vv. 24-25)

E  I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. (vv. 26-28)

D1 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, (vv. 29-30)[1]

The text is chiastic, with the main message in E (vv. 26-28)—its center. D and D1 give the reasons for the main message in E. It states the cause of the destruction of fools.

There is only one reason for the downfall of fools–they reject wisdom. They reject wisdom because they reject the fear of the Lord. To reject the wisdom of God is to reject the fear of God. To reject wisdom is to reject God.

Because fools reject wisdom, wisdom will also reject them in the time of trouble. The words, “calamity,” “terror,” “distress,” and “anguish,” refer to the “coming doom” in Jewish apocalyptic and prophetic literature.[2] When crisis comes, and it will certainly come, fools will seek wisdom to get themselves out of it. But they will not find her. They will call on her but she will not listen to them. In other words, they have lost their chance to get her.

Thus, in the day of disaster, they will lack the wisdom to handle it.

For the simple [fools] are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me [wisdom] will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster” (Prov. 1:32-33). Do you fear God today? Then you are wise. You are listening to wisdom. When distress comes, you will be secure.

But if you don’t fear God today, you don’t have wisdom. Reject wisdom, and you will be destroyed. Fear God and listen to wisdom, and you will be secure.


[1] Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes Song of Songs, 71.

[2] Murphy, Proverbs, 10.

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