Proverbs was written by Solomon a.k.a. “the wisest of all men” as a letter to his son on how to live life. It is said that what Psalms is to prayer, the letter of Proverbs is to everyday life.
Chapter one was written as in introduction to knowledge. It tells of what to avoid and what to look for in persons of true wisdom. It is a basic introduction to discernment and logic as well as a foundation for chapter two, which highlights a differentiation between a fools knowledge and true wisdom. The verse that especially stuck me however was verse seven - “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (NASV) The phrase that captured my interest was “the Fear of the Lord.” All my life I had heard this phrase but without understanding. So I consulted my electronic Easton Reference via E-Sword and it said this
Is in the Old Testament used as a designation of true piety (Pro_1:7; Job_28:28; Psa_19:9). It is a fear conjoined with love and hope, and is therefore not a slavish dread, but rather filial reverence. (Compare Deu_32:6; Hos_11:1; Isa_1:2; Isa_63:16; Isa_64:8.) God is called “the Fear of Isaac” (Gen_31:42, Gen_31:53), i.e., the God whom Isaac feared.
A holy fear is enjoined also in the New Testament as a preventive of carelessness in religion, and as an incentive to penitence (Mat_10:28; 2Co_5:11; 2Co_7:1; Phi_2:12; Eph_5:21; Heb_12:28, Heb_12:29).
That was interesting to me, but didn’t really capture why the word “fear” was used. So I consulted my Strong’s Reference once again via E-Sword and it said this
Feminine of H3373; fear (also used as infinitive); morally reverence: - X dreadful, X exceedingly, fear (-fulness).
So now I know that it’s a complete embodiment and definition of what reverence for God is. I took a second to look up where else “reverence” was used in the bible and I found that in the Old Testament it was used in reference to God. It was always reverence to the Lord. In the New Testament it held the same meaning, but also was used to describe religious actions. It was as if our actions within religion must be an overflow of the reverence we have for God; or “the Fear of the Lord” we posses through our relationship.
--The Fear of the Lord--
The Fear of the Lord is something we posses. It is not an action, rather our actions flow out of it. Before I surrendered I misunderstood what this truly meant. My misconception was then carried over when I entered a relationship with God. I had always perceived it as being defined by our actions, that if we did something wrong it would not show very good “Fear of the Lord” or to rephrase it as the way I understood it “Fearful actions that show respect for the Lord.” It’s a slippery distinction isn’t it? But the distinction is imperative; that our actions must flow from our possession, not that our possession is dependant on our actions. This is also a common misconception about our relationship with God. That we do something to show that we have a relationship with the Father; it’s not so much that Christians who attend church feel that they must “earn” a relationship with God, no, that distinction is clearly made to almost every consistent church attendee. However, the distinction that is quite commonly missed is that our actions alone don’t stamp us as Christians. This notion is truly quite foolish isn’t it? That somehow our good actions will make others aware of our Christianhood and this is the purpose of salvation. No, I tell you the truth; our actions flow from the relationship; that we do certain things because of an innate desire that comes with Christ’s creation of a creature that is completely new, that we are new through Christ’s death. (Romans 6&7)
So now we know that our relationship with God is not defined by actions, but rather a struggle, an internal debate that our actions then reflect. Why then would I presuppose that possession of “the Fear of the Lord” was any different? I think the answer lies within the context of the phrase. I never understood that it was a possession, I assumed rather it was an attitude that somehow we shaped by acting a certain way. Thank God nothing depends on me, but rather how I am shaped through God. Total submission is the only requirement of me. Something I not only desire but constantly pray for improvement upon, that I would be aware of any lack of submission, and nothing could be greater. He is our great reward.
Wisdom will protect you. If you seek wisdom so that we may revere God, it will not be empty. Empty wisdom is wisdom for wisdom’s sake. Fulfilling wisdom is wisdom that seeks after the Father. This wisdom will bring our discernment, and bring you happiness. It will prevent failure, pain, and scars. It will bring you prosperity and understanding of the world.
*Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-GOD will be yours; you'll have come upon the Knowledge of God. And here's why: GOD gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He's a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere.
He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones. So now you can pick out what's true and fair, find all the good trails! -Proverbs 2:5-9 -The Message-
The Fear of the Lord (reverence and the relationship) cures all that ails your soul.
*Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. NASV
*Do not assume you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health; your very bones will vibrate with life. –The Message
*Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel and marrow to your bones. –KJV*
The King James Version is the closest to capturing the whole picture of these verses. When I dissected the verses and dove into the Hebrew language I found that health was the word *Riputh* which literally means cure, and the word navel is *Shor* which is a direct reference to the umbilical cord. So we are able to derive that this verse can read as:
The Fear of the Lord is like a cure nourishing you like an umbilical cord does a child in the womb.
Shor is also referred to as the center of all strength.