The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom – Psalm 111:10
What does it mean to “fear” the Lord? Does it mean to be terrified of Him? No. It means to be in reverence of Him (to have and show the utmost respect) and who wouldn’t be once they come to know Him? The psalmist actually gives us some reasons why we should “fear” God.
- The works of the Lord are great
- His work is honorable and glorious
- His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;
- The Lord is gracious and full of compassion. He has given food to those who fear Him;
- He will ever be mindful of His covenant.
- He has declared to His people the power of His works
- The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, And are done in truth and uprightness.
- He has sent redemption to His people;
- He has commanded His covenant forever
- Holy and awesome is His name.
There are so many reasons why we should “fear” God. He is loving, kind, merciful, just, fair and forgiving. He has done so many wondrous things, not just creating the earth and everything and everyone on it but He has done great things in the lives of so many. He is kind even to those who don’t believe in Him or want to know Him. He takes care of the poor, the needy, the widow, the orphans, the vulnerable and the oppressed. He provides for us and for the rest of His creation. He speaks to us through His Word, revealing His will and purpose for our lives. He encourages us to share the Good News with the world so that as many people as possible who hear and believe will be saved.
What does it mean that “fear” of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom? Simply put, reverence for God leads to true wisdom. And understanding comes from applying that wisdom. How do we apply that wisdom? We do so by doing His commandments. Wisdom is knowing who God is and then living our lives based on that knowledge. We apply that knowledge in our everyday living.
We know that God wants us to be kind to others, so we are kind to them. He doesn’t want us to covet what our neighbor has, so we don’t. He wants us to be holy like Him. Jesus tells us how we can do this, “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:35). Peter encourages us to be holy in all our conduct (1 Peter 1:15). By our conduct, people should be able to tell that we are children of God. By our conduct, we show our love and reverence for Him and our love for others. God wants us to be blameless and with the help of His Holy Spirit, we can be.
What reasons do you have to “fear” God? Mine are:
- He’s loving
- He’s trustworthy
- He’s forgiving
- He’s all powerful
- He’s all knowing
- He’s always there
- He’s holy and righteous
- He’s faithful
We “fear” God not only for the things He has done but for who He is. He is the Creator of Heaven and earth and every where we look, we see His majesty. He is the true, living and breathing God. He delights in us (Psalm 147:11, NIV) and rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17, NKJV). He is the Father, we can go to when we are hurting and need comfort. He is our Provider, Protector, Deliverer, Teacher, Shepherd and Redeemer.
Can you believe that the Almighty wants to have a loving and personal relationship with each one of us? He wants us to draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. He wants to spend quality time with Him everyday. The only way to really get to know Him is to spend time with Him. And the more time we spend with Him, the more we will learn about Him and the more we will do the things which please Him. This is how godly “fear” and spiritual wisdom come together.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment – Proverbs 9:10, NLT