“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge
of the holy is understanding” – Proverbs 9:10
We know the popular saying that the fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom. Some bible translations say, “The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” This quote is found in Proverbs 1:7. But what does this really mean? What is the fear of God? What is wisdom? And what is knowledge?
The first point is the issue of the Fear of God. This simply means a life lived according to the will of God, and with deep reverence for God. To fear God is to hold Him in very high esteem such that one does not call the name of God in vain. It means to have respect for God in such a reverent manner. It means honouring God in everything you do. It refers to a deep sense of awe and holy wonder for God, and a submission to God’s omnipotence.
The fear of God also means that one is conscious of God’s purity and holiness – Exodus 20:20. Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” It means that such purity and holiness is the very standard of life that is expected of a true believer and follower of Christ – 1 Peter 1:16. “For it is written, “You must be holy, because I am holy.”
The fear of God puts a high regard for God in one’s heart and with that, the believer is moved to share the good news, God’s word and plans with others. With the fear of God, we will be doing more to advance the kingdom of God here on earth, our pilgrim pathway. As B Paul says, “Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord [and understand the importance of obedience and worship], we persuade people [to be reconciled to Him]. But we are plainly known to God [He knows everything about us]; and I hope that we are plainly known also in your consciences [your God-given discernment]” – 2 Corinthians 5:11.
And of course, the fear of God does not go unrewarded. One who fears God is abundantly blessed and favoured by God – Proverbs 28:14. “Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”
Certainly, the bible is full of promises for he or she who fears God and walks in his ways, even generational benefits – Jeremiah 32:39. “And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may [reverently] fear Me forever, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.”
In conclusion, true believers in Christ are commanded to fear God – 1 Peter 2:17. “Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” To have the fear of God means that one has a good sense of God’s glory and awesomeness, God’s judgement as well as God’s love. Holding on to just God’s glory without consideration for His great judgement, one misses the ability to fear God through a lifetime.
Even God desires to put the fear of God in the heart of his people so that they may not develop a hardened heart that turns away from God – Jeremiah 32:40. “…I will put My fear in their hearts, so that they will never turn away from Me.” This also means that the fear of God can keep us away from sin.
“Lord, my heart is pulled in all kinds of directions. Unite my heart to fear your name! Put more of this fear of you that arises from the splendor of your glory, the reality of your judgement, and the wonder of your love in my heart! Amen” (Colin Smith – OpenBible).
“Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name” – Psalm 86:11. Amen.
(To be continued – in Part 2)