I've seen this verse for most of my life. It was the "school verse" of the private middle & high school I attended (Prison Camp for life!).
Basically, as a teenager, I felt guilted into learning with this verse.
"You're a fool, Win, if you don't learn!"
The thing is, I've learned plenty over the last 29+ years, and a lot of of it was outside of school. And yet as I sit here in seminary, I see my own irony in my rebellious nature towards academics.
In my last post I was complaining about the workload at the end of last semester. In the end, it was worth the struggle, but I didn't see it then.
In Proverbs 1, as wisdom personified is calling from the gate, she is warning against active rebellion from knowledge and wisdom. She distinguishes the troubles one faces when lacking such things:
"But since you refuse to listen when I call... since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you - when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you." Prov 1:24-27
Wisdom and knowledge won't keep me in bubble wrap. That's not the intent. Learning and gaining experience isn't a warmongering scare tactic to submit to "the man."
It's preparation. Life will be difficult. It will throw some ridiculous curveballs at you.
The wisdom I've clung to, sometimes reluctantly, over the last 29+ years? The fear of the LORD.
I struggle every day.
I have trust issues. Authority issues. Identity issues. And I will continue to struggle until my dying breath.
What gives me hope and joy, however, is knowing that Jesus is my King. He is helping me grow in the knowledge and wisdom of Him that I may know how to face those trials with perseverance and joy (James 1:2-4).
Overall, I should not be complacent; not quench the Spirit. Over the next month, as I reflect on 30 years, hopefully I'll glean more wisdom, and share that hope and joy with you.