“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
Solomon tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. As I thought about the definitions for fear and whether our fear is to be one of terror or of awe and reverence, I realized, it should be both. For when we fully comprehend the inherent nature of the living God, how can we not stand in reverent terror, how can we not stand in awe?
To better understand why the verse is so important to our study, let’s review some key word definitions. (From Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions.)
- 1) Fear: (yir’âh). 1) fear, terror, fearing. 1a) fear, terror. 1b) awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear). 1c) fear (of God), respect, reverence, piety. 1d) revered.
- Beginning: (rê’shı̂yth). 1) first, beginning, best, chief. 1a) beginning. 1b) first. 1c) chief. 1d) choice part.
- Knowledge: (da‛ath) 1a) knowledge, perception, skill. 1b) discernment, understanding, wisdom.
- Fools: (‘ĕvı̂yl). 1) be foolish, foolish. 1a) (substantive). 1a1) of one who despises wisdom. 1a2) of one who mocks when guilty. 1a3) of one who is quarrelsome. 1a4) of one who is licentious.
- Wisdom: (chokmâh). 1a) skill (in war). 1b) wisdom (in administration). 1c) shrewdness, wisdom. 1d) wisdom, prudence (in religious affairs). 1e) wisdom (ethical and religious).
- Instruction: (mûsâr). 1) discipline, chastening, correction. 1a) discipline, correction. 1b) chastening.
We don’t like to think about fearing God do we? We even try to reason it away by saying that fear doesn’t really mean “fear”. After all, God is love, why would a loving God want us to fear Him?
Yes, it’s true. God IS love. But, God also is holy. And because He is holy, the Bible tells us, no one is able to stand in His presence.
Exodus 33:20. But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”
1 Timothy 6:16. who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
Directly from God’s word, this is what we know about who God is; He is
- Elohim – The Creator God (Genesis 1:1)
- El Shaddai – The All Mighty God (Genesis 17:1)
- El Roi – The All Seeing God (Genesis 16:13)
- Elyon – The Most High God (Genesis 14:18)
- YAHWEH – The “I AM” God (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58; Revelation 1:8)
There is a lot of uncertainty in our world right now and for many of us, uncertainty creates fear. While we are instructed to fear the LORD, we are told not to fear the things of this life. So often, we get it backwards don’t we? We lose sight of the holiness and power of God and worry about the things of this life, and, in doing so, we allow those worries to become fears.
Lest you think that the “Fear of The Lord” as just an Old Testament thing, notice what Jesus has to say in Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”