Many people aspire to wisdom, but we don’t always act wise. What is the key to being a wise person? There is a group of books in the Bible known as Wisdom Literature, and the book of Proverbs is in the center of that genre. The book of Proverbs was written by Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived. This book has been described as laws of heaven for life on earth. An overarching theme of the book is how to live a life of fulfillment, or what might be described as a life of wisdom.

Wisdom is the ability or power to discern and judge properly what is true or right. Solomon introduces the book of Proverbs by emphasizing the importance of wisdom and revealing the key to wisdom,

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

The concept of “the fear of the Lord” as a prerequisite for wisdom is a recurring theme in the Bible,

“And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.’” (Job 28:28)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever. (Psalm 111:10)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility. (Proverbs 15:33)

What does it mean to fear the Lord? The fear of the Lord does not refer to a craven anxiety, but rather a reverential awe. This illustration may help explain what is meant by the fear of the Lord. When I was in the Navy I would preflight my aircraft. I was not afraid to go flying, but I had a healthy respect for the inherent dangers of flying. A cavalier attitude could easily lead to complacency and result in tragedy. Likewise, we must have a healthy respect of God and seek to live in accordance with His commandments.

C.S. Lewis gives us a helpful picture of God in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as he describes Aslan,

“Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion” … “Safe?” said Mr Beaver … “Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

It’s a great comfort to know that our God is good, but we must also remember that He is not safe. When you fear the Lord then you do not fear many other things.  The fear of the Lord is not a paralyzing terror, but a proper reverence of God. This enables us to walk in obedience with a healthy desire to do what is pleasing to God. Solomon presents the benefits of fearing the Lord,

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death. (Proverbs 14:27)

The fear of the LORD leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil. (Proverbs 19:23)

Do you have a healthy fear of the Lord?

RickAssociate Pastor – Discipleship.  The Church at LifePark

Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University

Follow me on twitter:  rickhiggins5