THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM; A GOOD UNDERSTANDING HAVE ALL THOSE WHO DO HIS COMMANDMENTS. HIS PRAISE ENDURES FOREVER.
The word fear is tricky because we immediately associate it with other words like terror, worry, horror, fright, and dread. However, the fear of The Lord is so different. We must know that God is in control of all things, whether we like it or not. He knows the beginning, middle, and the end. Every thought we’ve ever had and will have; move we’ve ever made and will make. He set every single thing we know of in motion. He gifted us with commandments because He knows our ways and what is best for us. Knowing how all-powerful God is and that He holds all that we know as life in the very palm of His hand is fearing Him. Deuteronomy 4:1-9, talks about keeping Gods commands and how we will prosper and have life by holding fast to the Lord. The word fear is not mentioned in this passage, but its clearly talking about what it means to be wise in following God’s statutes and judgments.
I think the most effective way to take this verse is quite literally. God gave us a book of instruction to navigate truthfully and uprightly through His world. Unfortunately, we constantly over think all these things, or don’t listen all together, focusing solely on what our puny minds think is best for us. But it’s simpler than we think; we just have to do what He says in order to live in wisdom, righteousness, and Light. As it says in The Devine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, “The Bible is, after all, God’s gift to the world through his Church, not to the scholars. It comes through the life of his people and nourishes that life. Its purpose is practical, not academic. An intelligent, careful, intensive but straightforward reading- this is, one not governed by obscure and faddish theories or by a mindless orthodoxy- is what it requires to direct us into life in God’s kingdom.” This is wisdom- knowledge and understanding. This is Fear of the Lord.