Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Knowledge
Vs.7. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The fear of the Lord means to respect God because God is our creator and master. This respect has to be shown by obeying God’s will. Loving children will respect their parents because they know that the parents have the best interest of the children in mind. Also the children know that if they do not obey their parent’s instructions, it will cause their parents pain. In Genesis 6 it describes the wickedness of people right before the Great Flood, and verse six states, “And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart (NSRV).” Someone once said, “Sin is not just the breaking of God’s laws, but it is also the breaking of God’s heart.”
The fear of the Lord can be viewed in a positive manner. According to Rabbi Joseph Telushkin in his book Biblical Literacy, the fear of the Lord is intended to achieve two effects:
- To prevent people from fearing human beings more than God,
- To promote ethical and compassionate treatment of society’s weakest members.
1. Fear God not Other People:
For example, Pharaoh wanted to kill all the male Hebrew infants at birth, but because Shiphrah and Puah “feared God” they did not obey pharaoh (Exodus 1:17.) They understood that obedience to God’s will is more important than anything else, including their lives. This same type of obedience can be seen in the lives of so many people: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, etc…
2. Ethical and compassionate treatment of society’s weakest members:
The Bible’s stress on ethical and compassionate treatment of others can be seen in several verses including:
Leviticus 19:14- “You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord (NRSV.)”
Leviticus 25: 25-26 states not to take interest in advance or otherwise make a profit from your kin who have fallen into difficulty and are dependent on you. Instead you are to “fear your God and let them live with you.”
Leviticus 25: 39-43 states that a person is not to rule over an Israelite slave “with harshness but shall fear your God.”
The fear of the Lord is liberating, because it enables us to live a life in accordance to God’s will. We live a life that makes God happy by loving and helping those around us.
Heavenly Father, allow us to realize that You love us and want the best for us. Allow us to respect You and obey You all the days of our lives. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Sin is not just the breaking of God’s laws, but it is also the breaking of God’s heart.Rev. Shibi Abraham,Youth Chaplain, North East Region