The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
“Fear of the Lord”…strange words to use as the beginning of anything let alone wisdom. It gives me the picture of Snow White running through the woods to escape the evil queen. So how is fear the beginning of wisdom? There are lots of fears in life from a child’s fear of what is under the bed, to an older adult’s fear of dementia or cancer, with all sorts of fears in between that shape our choices. Proverbs is urging us to let this fear of the Lord push aside all other fears, and let God be the one to mold our lives. But what exactly does it mean to “fear the Lord?” These words do not exactly fill me with warm fuzzies.
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who finds great delight in his commands. Psalms 112:1
Fearing the Lord is to delight in doing His will, because when we do that we don’t have to worry about what is coming for we know the power of God will triumph as we follow Him. And what is His command for us?
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 37-40
There you are––to fear God is to love God above everything else, and love your neighbor as yourself. That is the beginning of wisdom––the way through the dark woods of life.