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The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom
Proverbs 1:7

Scripture readings: Proverbs 1:1-7, 20-33, 2:12-15, 3:13-18, 4:1-7, Psalm 119:98-104

Today we are going to begin a 6 week study of the book of Proverbs.

-Proverbs is all about wise living
-Solomon is the primary author of the book of Proverbs.
-Proverbs, in the early going is written by Solomon as an instruction to his son on how to be a wise person
-In the book of Proverbs, two kinds of people are featured -the fool, the wise person. Each are described in detail. Our aspiration must be to be the wise person
-At times, when we read and ponder portions of the book of Proverbs we are going to be exposed, not as living in a wise manner, but rather as living as fools. When we are exposed as such, the call of the Scriptures is to repent of our foolish ways and seek the way of wisdom

The key verse of the book of Proverbs is found in Proverbs 1:7. In this verse we are told the key to being a truly wise person. The key: The fear of the LORD.

-15 times in the book of Proverbs the phrase "the fear of the LORD" is mentioned(Proverbs 1:7,29; 2:5; 3:7; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26,27; 15:16,33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4; 23:17)

Today we are going to answer the question: What does it mean to fear the LORD?

READ Proverbs 1:1-7

Oswald Chambers "The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else; whereas, if you do not fear God, you fear everything else."

What does it means to fear the LORD?

Note: The idea of fearing the Lord has gotten a bad rap in the sense that some people have tried to reduce the Bible's teaching regarding fearing the LORD to "cowering in fear before a vengeful, angry God". This is an offensive characterization that does not stand up to scrutiny.

1. To "fear the LORD" you have to put your faith in Him as the one the true God

In a world teeming with supposed gods, the Bible tells us that their is one true God (Isaiah 44:6). This one true God has revealed to us His person and holy name "Yahweh/LORD". It is Him that we are to fear and worship, serve and praise. He being the Maker of Heaven and earth and all that is.

Abraham worshipped the LORD, Isaac served and worshipped the LORD, Jacob served and worshipped the LORD, Joshua, Daniel, Elijah, David, Solomon, Josiah, Ezekiel and on and on, they all called upon the LORD in faith and repentance. They all put their trust in the LORD as the one true God. The Bible celebrates their faith and invites us to put our trust, as they did, in the LORD- revealed to us in the Scriptures as the Maker of Heaven and Earth and all that is.

In wrestling with the question: How can you be sure that the God of the Bible is the true God? You need to step back and think about how you know the Bible is true.

If you can come to the conclusion that the Bible is true, then you have a good reason for believing that the God of the Bible (existing as God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit) is the one true God.

Reasons to believe the Bible: It's unity (40 contributors, 1600 years, 3 languages, one non contradictory message) Fulfilled prophecy, It's own testimony as to its authorship and origins, Archaeology (real people, real places, real events-- as verified by digging up the ground)

2. The fear of the LORD involves remembering that God can be and is, a little bit scary- in holy, righteous, awesome, all powerful way.

In 2 Chronicles 17:10 it says; "The fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands surrounding Judah, so that they did not make war with Jehoshaphat."

In Jeremiah 5:22 the LORD says to rebellious Judah; "Should you not fear me?" declares the LORD. "Should you not tremble in my presence?"

Speaking to the crowds, Jesus said in Luke 12:4-5; "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him."

In Acts 5:1-11, which details for us the deception and subsequent Divine execution of 2 Christians (Ananias and Sapphira), it says in verse 11 "Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events."

Interpretive question; Is this sense of fear emphasized in Proverbs 1:7? Is this what Proverbs 1:7 has in mind?

Would you say "Absolutely!", "Not at all!" "Maybe a teeny bit"

I'm leaning towards the last one, because God is awesome and when Isaiah and John saw the LORD, they were scared.

This reminds me of the C.S Lewis book "The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe", and the quote about God not being a tame lion.

Consider this scene from "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" where the children are hearing for the first time of Aslan the Lion, the allegorical Christ figure of the book:

"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he--quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

We serve the LORD, the Creator of the universe. We serve the one to whom all power and authority belong. The joy of calling Him Father and Christ our friend and brother should not cause us to be slack in our approach to God. In case we do get lazy, let us not forget that Acts 5:11 say, in response to God striking Ananias and Sapphira, "Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events." Neither must we forget that in his vision of Christ, though Jesus told him not to be afraid, that John fell at the Lord's feet as though dead (Revelation 1:17-18)

Warning: For those who are not the followers of Christ, fearful dread is an appropriate response to the thought of them meeting God. Why? Their sins are not forgiven, Christ is not their advocate, they rest under the judgment of God, Hell awaits them.

When we think about this aspect of fearing God-- fearful dread: This kind of fear is meant to lead to repentance

3. Those who fear the LORD accord him respect, honor, and reverence.

In Psalms 89:6-7 it says; "For who in the heavens can be compared to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the LORD? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him."

We are to revere respect. We are have a profound respect for Him and His ways. This of course will impact the way we use His name, talk about Him, conduct our lives.

A good question for us to routinely ask is "Is what I said, been thinking about, and doing; has it reflected a reverence and respect for God?"

When we think about this aspect of fearing God: This is a fear that leads to the pursuit of holiness and a reverent desire to please Him with our lives

4. Proof that one fears God is they worship Him.

In Habakkuk 3:2, Habakkuk says "LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD"

The proper response to God is worship. He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth. He is the one who provides us with light and warmth and rain and food, protection, etc

5. Proof that one fears the LORD is obedience to His Word.

In James 1:22 it says; "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

The first step of obedience that God requires which serves as proof that one fears the LORD is their repenting of their sin and putting their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Such is a step of obedience to God according to His revealed plan of salvation and peace with Him.

The proof that a person fears the Lord is their commitment to obeying God.

True wisdom is not merely found in knowing what is right, it is the doing of it.

If you are serious about being a wise person in the sight of God, it means that you are serious about obeying God's word.


Proverbs 1:7 says "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge/wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."

Another principle to note: Our job is to teach our children to fear the LORD

I'm trying to live a life that reflects a fear of the LORD- and I hope you are too.

To fear the LORD entails...

1. Worshipping and praying to Him alone
2. Being careful about how I speak of Him or think of Him
3. Remembering that He is "not a tame lion"
4. Being serious about doing what He says and how He says to do it

To reject the fear of the Lord is to be a fool. Proverbs 1:7b

To choose the fear of the Lord is to choose the path of blessing, favour, and honour

The first step of choosing the fear of the LORD is responding in faith and repentance to Jesus and the cross. Being reconciled to God on His terms is the ultimate step of wisdom.

Have you taken this step?

Closing song: We choose the fear of the LORD