The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,Proverbs 1:7 NIV
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
There are half a dozen passages in the Bible that equate the fear of the Lord with gaining wisdom or knowledge. At a casual glance, that may not make much sense to us. Mostly because fear and knowledge seem so unrelated to each other. But there is a real truth here that has great value for us.
I can still vividly remember experiencing fear as a child. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy, the school bully, etc. Sometimes I knew what the fear was about, while other times, it was an undefined dread of what might happen. And I suspect that we carry those feelings over into our understanding of the fear of the Lord.
And this usage of fear does carry with it a measure of the fear we should have for God. After all, God does hold my eternal future in his hands. But it is much more than that. Fear of the Lord also involves respect and reverence. God is not like me. He is immeasurably greater than any human, no matter how great they may be. Fear of the Lord means that I don’t interact with him like a buddy. Yes, he is also my Abba, Father. But that intimacy he privileges’ us with should not take away from the respect and reverence we have for him.
And it is that reverence for the Lord that forms the basis for all real knowledge and wisdom. We might gain a lot of knowledge about this world apart from a relationship with God. But that knowledge is temporary. The better knowledge is that which will endure. A knowledge that is based on a relationship with our creator.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge!