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One of the central characteristics of the wise man in the book of Proverbs is the way he seeks the input of wise people in his life. “A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel” (1:5).

The motivation to seek it comes entirely from the fear of the Lord. He says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7).

The one who fears God has the start of knowledge, and then that knowledge blooms as he seeks wisdom and instruction. The fool has no such fear, and so he has no interest in wisdom and instruction. That’s how the lack of fear of the Lord is demonstrated.

The book is written from a father to his son: “My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother” (1:8). The desire for information and wisdom begins with parents, but it branches out from there.

Ultimately, everyone listens, but the question is “To whom?” He says “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice” (12:15). The fool listens to himself, while the wise listens to others.

It’s hard to overstate the value of seeking wisdom from others, and it’s hard to overstate the danger of not doing so: “Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established” (15:22). “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (14:11).

We would expect this knowing God is a Trinity, a Divine Community of fellowship, love, and wisdom. The Son is the Word of God, and that Word is spoken. The more man is like an island, the less he is like the Lord.

But God surrounds us with sources of help. When he saves us He brings us into His people, not just a set of ideas the truths. God sets the lonely in His family. When we are humble and honest and appropriately vulnerable, when we fear Him and want help following Him, we find wisdom and help. This is what it means to be the kind of people that fear Him and learn His ways.

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