In Proverbs, the fear of the Lord introduces wisdom, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline" (Proverbs 1:7). It persists throughout the book and is always a good thing, "the fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied" (Proverbs 19:23). Fear, however, seems oddly out of place when we think of our God, full of love and grace and goodness. Why would we be told to fear him?
I remember December 1973, when Dad entrusted me with the keys to his brown 1963 Ford Galaxie. I loved that car! I was young, 16, and did not have a proper appreciation of 2 tons of steel and power and speed. And I drove like it. Now jump with me to July 2004. I hand Abby, my first child, the keys to the family Suburban. As I put them in her hand, I feel the size, the weight, the speed, and the power. I understand, more than ever before, how fear can be a good thing. It is where wisdom blossoms.
Peter had answered rightly, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God," and Jesus responded, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 16:16-19).
The church has the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. Our Father hands us the keys to his Kingdom. Consider the weight and the power in our possession. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Great and awesome God, Almighty and Everlasting, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. That You even think about me is amazing, that You have saved me, adopted me into Your family, that I share in the inheritance of Your riches, that Your Holy Spirit has taken residence in me, that I am a child of God, welcomed to Your presence, forever a citizen of Your Kingdom. Wow. Thank You. I worship You. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.
May my life reflect Your glory.