“The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom,
and humility comes before honor.”
What is Fear?
We see lots of mention of fear in the Old Testament. It’s a word that doesn’t fit well with our modern mindset, and so many people who speak about these verses reduce fear to something else. They tell us it is more like awe or respect. Yet even these words have been diluted by our present culture. When I was a child and did something wrong, I feared the consequences, I feared my parents and the discipline they would bring, the telling off I would receive. Today children seem to fear very few things, and the ideas of respect and awe are replaced by individualism.
But what if fear means fear. What if there is reason to fear God, and this reason makes the grace He shows us all the more amazing. In the Old Testament the Israelites were afraid to approach the mountain that God met Moses on, Jacob comments on how he came face to face with God and lived. Maybe fear is the beginning of all wisdom because when we realise that God could do anything He wants at any time, He could make our lives miserable and full of suffering, He could punish us for our sins. And yet he doesn’t. Instead He pours grace upon us, and in Jesus shows us how humility comes before honour.