The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Like every other teacher I ever had, I was supposed to learn something from him. He taught us history, which has never interested me, so I already started the class not caring much about the material. On top of that, I had just started middle school. I took the opportunity of moving up to the bigger school to try and reinvent myself as one of the cool kids. I still wanted to do well academically, but I also thought that acting up in class might make the other kids like me more. It was in his history class that I would cross the line, and he took me out in the hallway to let me know that he would not tolerate that kind of behavior in his classroom. In my bitterness, I decided from that moment that he would be my enemy, and I would not be open to learning from him.
I used to read this verse and not understand how fearing God leads to knowledge. When I think of that history teacher, it becomes a little clearer for me. Before I could learn from him, I had to yield to his authority as a teacher and accept that he had knowledge I did not possess. Submission is required in order for us to learn. If the student does not submit to the teacher, then the teacher will not be able to break through. To have a right fear of God is to accept the truth of his sovereignty and omniscience. We must accept the fact that He has every nugget of knowledge we could possibly need, and we are utterly dependent on him in order to understand the truth of this life. Without walking with reverence for him, we will not be open to the knowledge He wants to share with us.
We can gain nothing from the Lord without first submitting to him. This act of yielding is the beginning of chipping away at the idolatry of self that keeps so many far from God. Those who decide that they are above yielding to God will find out too late that they never knew anything at all. In their pride, they will rely on what they believe they know, but that knowledge will reveal itself as worthless on that day. We cannot learn from a God we think instead must yield to us. It all starts with confessing that He is who He says He is and that He is worthy of all reverence. Father, break down our defenses that we would yield to You and learn from You more daily.