The Beginning of Wisdom

Read: Proverbs 1:1-7

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Prov. 9:10)

I did a little research and learned that the expression “the fear of the LORD/God” or the command to “fear the LORD/God” occurs 120 times in the English Standard Version of the Bible—exactly three times more than commands or expressions for loving God. This prompts a question: why is there so much more emphasis on the fear of the Lord in the Bible than in contemporary Christian experience? Do preachers address this subject regularly? Are Christian best sellers being written about it? Have you ever reflected on it in your daily devotions?

Ours is a therapeutic age. We place a high value on feelings, especially personal feelings of comfort, happiness, and peace. We’re not so keen on fear. Of course, it’s natural to prefer being happy to being afraid. But sometimes fear is healthy—when you’re hiking in the woods and meet a bear, for example.

The idea that our fundamental response to God should include fear might seem unusual or even off-putting to you. But the “the fear of the LORD” is healthy. It’s step one on the path to wisdom (Prov. 1:1). You can’t even begin to be wise until you have the proper attitude toward God. And you can’t begin to have that unless you’re clear about who God is and who you are in relation to him; that is, until you develop a healthy fear of the Lord. —David Bast

As you pray, ask God to fill you with an appropriate reverence for his holiness.

About the Author

david bast

Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.