The opening paragraph in Proverbs lays out the purpose of the book, main themes and authors. The author is Solomon, probably written to one of his sons. The purpose of the book is to know wisdom, instruction and understanding and wisdom from God. He ends this section with probably the main theme or truth of the whole book. And this is it, Verse 7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.”
He is saying if you want wisdom, instruction, and understanding then it starts with the fear of the Lord. Some of you might jump to conclusions and think why do I want to fear God, if he is a loving God why should I fear him. Most of us when we hear the word FEAR, immediately think of the Fear Factor, or Jurassic Park, or horror films where we are afraid or fearful of dark places afterwards. The word fear typically has a very negative attitude that goes with it as many of us are fearful of several things.
The Bible uses this word in a different way. In this phrase the meaning is religious reverence and awe (in our context it is of God). In our society we have vastly forgotten about this. We tend to only be fearful of our own failure, it is more of a me first for fear. But our fear should be a healthy respect, awe and love for God. For example, growing up I had huge respect for my dad. He was an amazing father but was also a lot bigger, fast, and stronger than me. Because of this I grew up having a healthy fear and respect of him. I wanted to please, and I also knew that if I disobeyed him that I would be disciplined for it. But that fear allowed me to respect my fathers advice, warnings, encouragement, and wisdom for daily living.
The same is true with our heavenly father. Since God created the universe and created you and me, He is deserving of our reverence, awe, love, and obedience. The more we know who God is the more we love Him and have a healthy fear of Him. God can do anything He in his justice and mercy towards us. As the ultimate controller of all things it is wise for us to fear Him. But if we come to the awe and reverence for God and recognize that daily, this new found accountability that comes from knowing about God’s greatness causes us to live differently.
The more we are in awe and reverence for Him, the more we can learn, grow, understand and live our lives in greater wisdom and guidance. If you want wisdom learn to have that healthy love, awe and reverence for the Creator and Savior of the World.