Summary: “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7 NLT)
“Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7NLT)
We live in a dynamic information age largely driven by scientific communications and the digital revolution. The demand to be informed is relentless. Some 2,500 years ago the Hebrew prophet Daniel clearly foresaw an unprecedented knowledge explosion. "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase," he wrote (Daniel: 12:4). How astonishingly true of our world today. However In an unparalleled period of information overload, the world is desperately troubled because of its fundamental lack of true and basic knowledge. God's Word reveals the true values by which we must live if we are to solve our massive relationship problems and the other seemingly insoluble dilemmas that threaten to overwhelm us. But what is sadly lacking is the basic knowledge so essential to humanity's overall well-being. Well over 2,000 years ago God warned, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea: 4:6).
Psalms and Proverbs are in a section of the Bible known as "Wisdom Literature." The other books in this section are Job, Ecclesiastes and The Song Of Solomon. The focus of these books is instructing men in the ways of the Lord and in His service and worship. If there is a key verse that unlocks the power and purpose of this great book, it would be the Fear of the LORD. If we are to learn wisdom and knowledge, it must begin with the fear of the Lord. This subject is fundamental to the Christian's faith. This is a very vital line of thought in the Book of Proverbs as it is mentioned roughly 18 times in its pages. In all, the phrase can be found 27 times in the Bible. If so much emphasis is placed on fearing the Lord, then Understanding the Fear of the Lord is imperative.
One of the best words to describe the fear of the Lord is reverence. Reverence is a response to a revelation of God. When God reveals Himself, I believe the only appropriate response is reverence. And with it goes submissiveness. A submissive attitude toward God is an expression of the fear of the Lord in our lives. To fear God is to desire to live in harmony with His righteous standards and to honor Him in all that you do. It is an awareness that you are in the presence of a holy, just, and almighty God and that He will hold you accountable for your motives, thoughts, words, and actions.
King David said “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” (Psalm 34:11)
Psalm 34 Verse 11 is an invitation to receive instruction concerning the “fear of the Lord”: “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” The invitation in verse 11 is to “children” (literally, “sons”). As in Proverbs the teacher often addresses the student as his “son” The fear of the Lord is not an ill-defined, illusive concept, but one which can be taught and known. It is not only subjective, but objective. In addition, the fear of the Lord is not merely academic, but is worked out in very practical terms. The fear of the Lord is now presented as the prerequisite to seeing the goodness of the Lord. David has experienced it, and he urges others to taste of it as well. However, God’s goodness is directed only toward those who fear Him. David begins to instruct men concerning one of the missing factors in their religion, one which has kept them from experiencing the blessings of God’s provision and protection—the fear of the Lord. The subject is introduced in verse 11. In verses 12-14 the results of a fear of God are described. Verses 15-18 depict the relationship which a fear of the Lord establishes. The rewards of a fear of the Lord are spoken of in verses 19-22. The fear of the Lord is not merely learned; it is lived, Just as James taught that “faith without works is dead” James 2:14. David teaches that the fear of the Lord is manifested in very practical ways. The fear of the Lord is the basis of a relationship between God and man.
When we look around at God’s creation—the majesty of towering mountains, the expanse of oceans with their high tides and low tides, the intricacy of delicate flowers, the brilliance of the sun, and the glory of our galaxy—we can catch a glimpse of how awesome our God is! The psalmist David often expressed his awe of God by meditating on God’s handiwork. He wrote, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”(Psalm 8:3–4). This is why Israel’s King Solomon is renowned as the wisest man who ever lived, In the Book of Ecclesiastes; Solomon records his observations about the meaning and significant of life. In the end, he states that the “conclusion of the whole matter” is the fear of the Lord. (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14).