Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
When this passage speaks of the fear of the Lord, it is referring to a reverential respect and awe of God as God. When we fear God, we acknowledge and are grateful for who He is, and what He has given us. When we fear God, we walk in humility, recognizing that all we know and all that we could ever accomplish, is only because of His mercy and abilities in our lives.
A fool is arrogant, self-righteous, and refuses to acknowledge God in anything. They have no heart for understanding the world from a godly perspective.
One of the characteristics of the wicked is arrogance. The wicked person not only refuses to acknowledge God, but in their pride they imagine that whatever they do is just fine. I believe the following passage reveals this fact.
Romans 1:21-22 (NLT) Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.
It isn’t as if they don’t know that God exists or have absolutely no ability to know God. They are willingly ignorant, and willingly deceived. They refuse to accept the evidence of God’s existence and instead, replace Him with a god of their own making. In the modern western world, that god has become man himself.
As a result, modern man is drowning in confusion caused by his own making. Rather than seeking after God and His wisdom, man is left to his own foolishness, reaping the dire consequences of his ignorance.