What Does It Mean To Fear The Lord?

It is written, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs1:7, KJV). Again it is written, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10, KJV).

The starting point for knowledge and wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Those who will not fear the Lord will lack both knowledge and wisdom. Conversely, those who will embrace the fear of the Lord will also embrace knowledge and wisdom. While it is true there are those who have great knowledge and wisdom in the things of the world who do not even acknowledge God, they are still limited. They do not possess the knowledge and the wisdom that comes from above, which would take what they have to another dimension, which far exceeds anything they possible could gain in the world.

Knowledge and wisdom are commodities that require great care, which is especially true when they pertain to spiritual issues. Those who possess these attributes must handle them with careful attention as stewards, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48, KJV). If a person will not carefully handle the things of God, why would the Lord give them to him in the first place?

Question: Why do people want these attributes? What purpose do they serve in their lives? For example, 1 Corinthians 8:1 says, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth” (KJV). With knowledge comes the danger of pride, especially when there is a lack of the fear of the Lord. Some acquire vast amounts of knowledge in order to edify themselves. They love the feeling of superiority it gives them, especially if others acknowledge them as possessors of great knowledge. They are filling a void. As believers, we should realize that the Lord blesses us in order for us to be a blessing. Another vital key to knowledge and wisdom is love. As we have already read, love (charity) edifies, therefore, love will use knowledge and wisdom to build others up. It is outward focused.

Knowledge in of itself can become a stumbling block to others when used by a pride-filled individual. Read 1 Corinthians 8, as gives us an example of this truth. If we embrace the fear of the Lord, we will also be more apt to treat others better than we might do otherwise. Consider this: while love should be the motivation behind the way we treat others, we should keep in mind that they belong to God. For example, if I treat a brother or a sister in the Lord well, I am not only treating a brother or a sister well, I am treating God the Father’s son or daughter well.

Similarly, if I mistreat a brother or a sister, I am mistreating the apple of God’s eye. If I am having difficulty with walking in love, the fear of the Lord can work as a safeguard. Knowing that we are accountable to God can vastly affect the way we treat others. If a person will not fear the Lord, chances are he will not love Him either. Selah!