The fear of the Lord is the
beginning of wisdom.
Wisdom is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “the ability to judge soundly and deal sagaciously with facts especially as they relate to life, conduct, discernment and judgment.” These characteristics are sought after in each generation and in every culture. Those individuals possessing them are qualified for positions of authority and responsibility and are the ones we look to for advice and counsel. Wisdom should be chief among all the prerequisites for appointment in our government, our places of business and in our churches. The scriptures have much to say about wisdom. “Blessed is the man who finds Wisdom.” (Proverbs 3:13) “For Wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” (Proverbs 8:11) “I, Wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.” (Proverbs 8:12) “Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power.” (Proverbs 8:14) “With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.” (Proverbs 8:18) “I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice.” (Proverbs 8:20) The scripture is also clear about where this wisdom originates. Proverbs 9:10 tells us that this wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. Unless we have learned to fear the Lord, we have not yet started on our journey to wisdom. The development of the fear of the Lord in our lives, then, must be our objective if we would obtain wisdom.
How is the fear of the Lord developed in our lives? Not surprisingly, we find that diligence and desire play an important role in learning to fear the Lord. Proverbs 2:1-5 instruct us to “accept my words,” “store up my commands,” “call out for insight,” “cry aloud for understanding,” “look for it as silver, and search for it as for hidden treasure, and you will understand the fear of the LORD.” Have you ever called out for insight, or cried aloud for understanding? This is the intensity that is needed to discover the fear of the Lord. The word of the Lord is also given to us that we may learn to fear Him. Deuteronomy 31:13 states “Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” Is learning to fear the Lord one of our objectives in reading the word of God? Prayer is also a means of learning to fear God, as described in Psalm 86:11. “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Are we including a desire to grow in the fear of the Lord in our prayers? We also see that we may gain fear from the instruction of others. “He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God.” (II Chronicles 26:5) There are many who may instruct us, but are we seeking those who will help us to fear God?
It is obvious to us that the fear of the Lord should be developed in our lives through our diligence, the effect of the word of God, prayer, and the investment of others in our lives. Our Lord places such a high priority on the development of the fear of Him in our lives that He also uses miracles such as the crossing of the Red Sea “so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.” (Joshua 4:24) The Lord continues to perform many miraculous interventions in our lives. Are we recognizing these and growing in our fear of Him? He also permits trials and testing in our lives for the same purpose. “Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’” (Exodus 20:20) The Lord also gives us His creation that we may learn to contemplate nature and come to fear Him. “‘Should you not fear me?‘ declares the LORD. ‘Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.’” (Jeremiah 5:22) Elizabeth Barrett Browning pens these words in “Aurora Leigh.”
Earth’s crammed with heaven
and every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes,
the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
As we contemplate the wonders of His creation, do we take off our shoes? Or do we merely sit round it and pluck blackberries? We see, finally, that the Lord Himself gives us His fear as a gift of His Grace. “They will be my people and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them.” (Jeremiah 32:38-39)
The development of the fear of the Lord takes different paths in all of our lives. What is the Lord using in your life to produce His Fear in your life so that you will attain unto wisdom? It begins with His gift, His Spirit, creating a fear of Him in our lives. He exposes us to the instruction of others, permits trials and would open our eyes to the multiple miracles he provides in our lives so that we may grow in our fear of Him. Our Lord also desires us to respond to His Spirit by exhibiting diligence in our lives to His word and to prayer, both of which he will use to produce the fear of God in our lives.
Proverbs 4:7 states “Wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom.” Are we growing in our attainment of wisdom? If so, it is because we are learning more clearly what it means to fear Him. May the Lord so direct your hearts into His fear that you may attain unto His wisdom.