(Understanding the “fear” of The Lord)
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. (Proverbs 9:10 NLT)
By Fr. Chris Lee OFR
In today’s world there are many things that cause fear. In fact, anxiety is one of our most common ailments. From crime to natural disasters, so many things try to grip our hearts with terror. I believe that what we really need to navigate this age is wisdom. The definition of wisdom is experience and knowledge that brings about good judgment. Let’s be honest, we can all use better judgment lol! How do we get wisdom? Where does wisdom come from? The Bible says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1:5 NLT).
In Proverbs 9:10 we learn that the “fear” of the Lord is the foundation or the beginning of wisdom. However, this “fear” is not the same as terror! I have already suggested there is enough terror in the world, so what can this “fear” be? The word “fear” in this verse means “respect” or “reverence”. Having respect for God is the first step toward wisdom. Having the proper respect for the Lord is the key to better judgment. Having respect for the Lord permeates every part of our lives and brings eternal benefits as well as personal change.
It is not a hard thing to respect The Lord. He is altogether worth respecting. He is the creator of all things and is matchless in his power and might. He is pure and perfect in every way. He continues to pour out undeserved blessings, kindness, and love. He is fair in all situations and to everyone. He is constantly aware of all our actions, and even the secret motivation behind those actions. He has loved us enough to give His life to us and for us. “There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.” (John 15:13 NLT) When we truly respect “fear” the Lord we are motivated and inspired to serve Him and worship Him as Lord of ALL.
As I said before, there are many things in the world that cause us fear and terror, but we who believe in Jesus Christ have no reason to be terrified of God. We do however, have every reason to respect and reverence Him by submitting our entire lives to Him. This is truly the foundation of wisdom, and we all need wisdom! “Fear of the LORD is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:27 NLT)