Three questions help explain what this means: The first is: Who is this Lord?
He is God and he sits above the earth, He is the great I AM. All the other gods are the pagan gods. This Lord is self-existent and He is the creator and sustainer and He is immutable (doesn’t change). He is eternal in His existence. The God who made Heaven and earth and who orchestrates all the stars.
The second question is: What is this fear?
He is not referring to terror. Fear might be translated, the love of the Lord, or the knowledge of the Lord, or the trust of the Lord. This is about loving the Lord and serving the Lord and keeping His commandments. The knowledge of this helps your children escape from the snares of death! I think that what Solomon was referring to with fear was love and devotion and respect. You might want to refer to a child who is well behaved who is delighted to see his father and be with him and be held by him and enjoy his company.
You might want to call it an “AWE” of who God is. Now understand that this is not natural for us humans. It is supernatural. Because of sin, we have forfeited all of the gifts accrued to us by a God who made us for His enjoyment in His image. This fear is a discovery of God’s love for us in our sinfulness and rebellion. “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,” in John Newton’s song. It is grace that teaches us what we are and how we need Jesus. Fear is trust and love and obedience.
The third question is: In what sense is it the beginning of knowledge?
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says that we need to know that God is immeasurably superior to yourself. We need to understand that we are nothing in comparison to God. If we don’t believe that, we are guilty of pride and we cannot know God. Proverbs says, “fools despise wisdom.” A proud man is always looking down at people. If you look down, you cannot see God.
It is the beginning of a controlling principle of faith. Fear God and keep His commandments. By humbly approaching our Savior, we can see and accept His grace and truth. We can learn about His love and participate in that love. We can achieve a joy that surpasses any that you have experienced in the past because God is the source of all joy and happiness. The world today does not understand that if we simply depend on our natures, we will have no interest in God.
It is the beginning, but what is the knowledge?
I think that it must be the knowledge of relationship. It transforms our will, emotions, and spirit. Unless we accept our sinfulness it will mean nothing. We will have no knowledge. Jesus is the sinner’s friend, so knowledge makes us aware of the relationship with Jesus.
The key to the understanding of the fear of God is that there is an earthly wisdom and a heavenly wisdom. WE are all fools by nature. The answer is fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of knowledge. You cannot understand this if you think you are autonomous or life is all about you. All relationships are founded on the loving relationship of Jesus and His selfless love for us. If you are not in AWE of that, then maybe you should pray for the grace of God to reveal how utterly unthinkable that is in human terms, but how utterly normal it is in Godly terms.
Download The Master’s Plan!
This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come. It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.