The Fear Of The Lord

The wise man Solomon wrote almost three thousand years ago: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). Then later, expressed in a slightly different way, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

Why is it true that “the fear of the LORD” is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom? Why do important matters such as knowledge and wisdom begin with a fear of God?

“This is the motto of Proverbs. To fear the Lord does not mean simply to dread the threat of punishment. The fear of the Lord involves reverent submission to God’s will. Humble respect for God that lovingly and willingly submits to His counsel is the beginning (i.e. the first and controlling principle) of knowledge. Who can better tell man how to live this life to the fullest than the Creator?” (Robert Harkrider, Proverbs, p. 5)

We will neither hear nor heed God if we do not first develop a deep and sincere reverence for Him! When Paul preached the gospel in Antioch of Pisidia he said: “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen” (Acts 13:16). You see, when a person has a fear of God, they are much more apt to listen to what He has to say to them through His Word.

However, when “there is no fear of God before” the eyes of men (Rom. 3:18) they act like fools and despise wisdom and instruction (Prov. 1:7), they do not seek after God (Rom. 3:11), but follow in the ways of sin (Rom. 3:9-18). When most of mankind did not fear God, but became “corrupt before God” (Gen. 6:11), one man was the exception. And do you know one of the key reasons why Noah was the exception? Noah feared God. “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household” (Heb. 11:7).

In the New Testament, children of God are also commanded to: “Fear God” (I Peter 2:17). Saints are called upon to cleanse themselves “from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). Christians are to submit “to one another in the fear of God” (Eph. 5:21). In order to “serve God acceptably” it must be “with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:28). It is even said of Christ that His prayers were answered by His heavenly Father “because of His godly fear” (Heb. 5:7).

Do you recall what Solomon said was the whole duty of man? “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:13-14). So then let us, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” (Rev. 19:5)