“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”– Proverbs 9:10
Many people struggle with the concept of the fear of the Lord. Some believe it is a shaking-in-our-boots kind of fear, a trembling under the mighty hand of God. Others think it is a feeling of awe and wonder because of His nature. These concepts are a distinct part of fearing the Lord, but I believe there is yet another.
Psalms 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Suddenly, the fear of the Lord is about more than obtaining wisdom – this is a crisis of the human heart. We as humans have eternity written on our hearts – by God. We have an insatiable longing for a higher connection, a deeper relationship, to be known and loved at the core of who we are – these longings are put there by God. Whether we acknowledge them or not, we know two things:
1. Another human being cannot possibly fulfill any of these heart-cries. 2. They are not going to go away. Inevitably, to deny that there is a God is to deny our own hearts, or even that we have one. It is foolish indeed to attempt to convince ourselves of an untruth – that there is no God. By doing so, we are slowly killing ourselves, from the inside out.
So what is the fear of the Lord? It is a God-consciousness. It is the awareness that He exists, the truth of the magnitude of His character, and the realization of who we are before Him. It is the knowing that He is with us, in every moment of every day, closer than the air He gave us to breathe, or the skin He formed over our bones. Because we cannot see Him, we forget that He is there, but that does not make Him any less real. The reality of His nearness changes everything. That we are seen, that we are known, and we are loved - this awakens our heart. It invites us to a life that we never dreamed possible.
The fear of the Lord is the key to having a heart that is fully alive. This is wisdom – to realize the unspeakable value of this treasure and to embrace it. To recognize not only the existence of God, but Who He is, and His place at the forefront of our lives, is to acknowledge our need for Him, our longing for Him, our very heart’s desire, which can be satisfied by Him alone. And as we understand more of who He is, we learn who we are, and what it is to taste true life.
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
– John 17:3