The Fear of the Lord

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 9:10 NKJV

The fear of the Lord is the deeply sane recognition that we are not God; He is.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the fear of the Lord.”

A baby is born with only two fears: the fear of falling and loud noises. Others are learned along the way, unfortunately. There are times, things, situations, and people that warrant caution. Most fears are unhealthy for you. Neurotic fear can be debilitating. Unhealthy fears are neurotic, destroying peace and stifling every joy. Fear magnifies your imagination and distorts your perceived reality. Fear misdirects expectations to the worst possible projection. Healthy fears can be lifesaving. Addressing and overcoming fear in constructive ways is important for emotional and physical well-being. The Bible has much wisdom to offer about fears, which are both hurtful and helpful.

Solomon, whose greatest desire was for wisdom (2 Chronicles 1:7-11 NKJV), learned where all wisdom begins. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by [wisdom] your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you.” Proverbs 9:10-11 NKJV. The Bible has much to say about “the fear of the Lord.” People wrongly equate it with other fears, which at their base have an inner concern of danger or harm. See Proverbs 29:25 NIV. The fear of the Lord is nothing like natural fears, except when misunderstood.

Adam and Eve hid themselves from God then explained to Him, “We heard your voice and were afraid.” Genesis 3:10 NKJV. Their fear was not from a lack in God’s character, but a lack in their own. And God’s response? He provided covering for their shame and promised them a Savior. How do you not love a God like that? I think many have a distorted understanding of Godly fear. You need not fear a God who would give His Son for you.

Incorrectly, a person who is not persuaded of God’s holy nature and righteous character nor committed to the unvarying truth of Scripture’s revelation of God may live under a false fear of what God may do to them. What you are capable of doing to God should be your fear – ignoring Him, disobeying Him, disbelieving Him, disappointing Him, or misrepresenting Him to others. You are more likely to “hurt God” by how you treat Him than He would ever harm you.

I came upon a quote deserving of reflection, “The fear of the Lord is the deeply sane recognition that we are not God.” To that, I would add, “. . and a holy recognition that He is.” Unhealthy fears are often the product of one’s ignorance of God’s existence or stubborn disbelieve in His caring and character. It helps if you understand that what the Bible calls fear, as it relates to one’s relationship with God, is “the attitude of respect and reverential awe,” a sublimely positive affection rather than a negative emotion. The practical elements of the “fear of the Lord” are: a clear understanding of God’s nature, a pure obedience to God’s Word, and a clean heart in God’s presence. I love the Bible’s description of “the believers [who] were walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:31 NLT.

My prayer for you this day is that you cultivate a holy reverence for God and His wisdom.