TO CHEW ON: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever." Psalm 111:10
When people ask, what would you like to be remembered for after you die, as in what would you like written on your tombstone, my mind always gravitates toward wisdom. I would love to be remembered as someone who was wise. In Psalm 111:10, the writer reveals the foundation of true wisdom. It is the fear of the Lord.
What is this fear? Tim Challies in The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment describes it:
"Wisdom is the application of the fear of God to life; it is living in such a way that we esteem God above all else. A man who is wise is first a man who fears God. This is not a terrified, horrified fear, as in the fear of a child for a monster or an abusive father, but a fear based on a realistic understanding of the infinite gap between God and man in holiness and knowledge" - page 55.
The phrase "the fear of the Lord" (or "the fear of God") occurs often in the Bible. As we track some occurrences, we see that this fear impacts many areas of life.
1. To fear God is a requirement for God's people - Deuteronomy 2:25; Joshua 4:24.
2. The fear of God involves doing away with anything that would vie with Him for first place in our hearts - Joshua 24:14.
3. God alone is to be feared in this way - Isaiah 8:13.
4. God is worthy of our fear because only He has power over life and death - Matthew 10:28.
5. God is worthy of our fear because only He can see through our actions and judge us righteously - 1 Peter 1:17; Revelation 14:7.
6. The fear of God motivates us to do away with evil - Proverbs 3:7; 14:16.
7. Fear of God influences our respect for life. When Abraham came to Gerar, he was afraid that King Abimelech, who didn't fear God, would have no qualms about killing him in order to get attractive Sarah for the royal harem - Genesis 20:11.
8. The fear of God can operate on the national level. Moses and Joshua predicted that the Canaanites would be filled with the fear of God as they heard about and saw the miracles God did for Israel - Deuteronomy 2:25; Joshua 4:24.
9. Lack of the fear of God leads to backsliding - Jeremiah 2:19.
And so I ask, is my hope to be remembered as wise, realistic because it is foundationed on the fear of God? Wisdom built on any other thing will not last.
PRAYER: Dear God, please expand my vision of Your holiness and knowledge. May the awe and respect in which I hold You impact all I do. Amen.
MORE: Fear of the Lord--the foundation of wisdom
"The fear of the Lord - Reverence for God; respect for his law, his will, his government, himself; the fear of offending him, which will lead us to do right. This fear is not that of a slave; it is not mere dread; it is not terror. It is consistent with love, and springs from it. It is consistent with calmness of mind, and promotes it. It does not produce terror, but rather delivers from it, and preserves the mind from alarms.
The word here rendered "fear" is a noun of the same origin as the word rendered "reverend" in Psalm 111:9 ("reverence" - Amplified). The suggestion to the mind of the psalmist that the "name of the Lord" was "reverend," or was to be venerated, introduced this thought that such reverence is the very foundation of wisdom" - Barnes Notes on the Bible.**********
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.