Updated: Mar 29, 2022
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
Knowing Who God Is
In this verse, the word "beginning" is translated from the root tachillah, which implies a foundation or an origin. Within this context of Scripture, Solomon means for the word "beginning" to be a prerequisite to wisdom. A person cannot be truly wise unless he first has a fear of the Lord. This is a level of wisdom that brings humility, recognizing that God is the originator and ruler of all things; from wisdom to creation to salvation. Submitting to God's authority shows that a person humbly acknowledges his place in the world and understands his need for a savior.
A fear of the Lord does not mean having terror or being scared of Him. Rather, it means having a deep reverence, respect, and awe for God and a continual awareness and submission to Him. Having a fear of the Lord is having a proper understanding of His characteristics. It's understanding that God is holy, which means He is set apart from us; He is transcendent. So when we speak of His holiness, we speak of His majesty that rises above all things in the created realm; His divine greatness.
The secondary meaning of holiness is purity. Purity means there is not one stitch of evil or tiny imperfection in God. He is perfectly moral, perfectly just, perfectly righteous, perfectly good. His purity and perfection go way beyond what we could ever begin to grasp. Both of these references to His holiness define the love of God. His love is transcendent, sacred, majestic, and it goes far beyond what any creature can manifest. Furthermore, God's love is a sincere love. This means God loves that which is holy, which in turn, causes Him to hate that which is evil. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). Hating evil means God hates injustice, immorality, ungodliness, and every sin. He can't look upon evil and sin, meaning He can't tolerate what He sees.
When we come to believe these truths about God's character and His attributes, it instills in us a true fear of the Lord, which is foundational to obtaining true wisdom. Those who have a right view of the one true God have an appropriate understanding of who He is, His character, His role in the universe in comparison to our roles, and a clear view of reality. This leads us as Christians to live upright, balanced lives in line with the Truth, headed for eternal glory.
Knowing Who We Are
One of the biggest mistakes we make is thinking God is like us because we don't know who God is. We also make the mistake of not having a right view of ourselves, believing we are actually good, based upon our own personal standards and definitions of what we view good to be. This also comes through being self-righteous and comparing ourselves to others whom we think are not as "good" as we are - which further gives us a false sense of being good ourselves through our own relative truths. People often ask the question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" The real truth is that has only happened once in history, and that was the person of Jesus Christ who voluntarily gave His life on the cross.
We are all sinners, and only God is good, whether we are able to humble ourselves to that truth or not. Only a contrite and humble heart can understand his or her need of a Savior, see the light of the gospel in Christ, and possess a healthy fear of the Lord - the foundation of true wisdom that leads to eternal life.
Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. Proverbs 9:7-9
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24