Proverbs 1:7 says that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and understanding. But what does it mean to fear God? On a basic level this is saying that no matter what else you know, no matter what else you think you understand, you’ll never have true understanding, you’ll never have true wisdom until you’ve learned to fear God.
This is the most basic level of wisdom.
So what does it really mean to fear God? Does it mean that God is waiting in the sky to smite wrongdoers and you have to be on your toes at all times, always watching what you’re doing? Maybe you do need to, but that’s not really what it’s talking about.
God isn’t up there waiting for us to do something wrong so that he can knock us around. We don’t have to be afraid that he’s vindictive and capricious.
Instead think about God more like you would an intense furnace or a nuclear reactor. You treat it with respect, never casually. Never abuse it. You follow its rules because, if you don’t, you could be burned; you could be destroyed. Not because it wants to destroy you but because, by its nature, it is so powerful, so holy, so different from anything else you know, that have to treat it with that level of respect.
The fear of the Lord is the fear that a child has for a stern, but very loving father.
God doesn’t want to be treated casually. He doesn’t want to be treated like your boyfriend or your buddy. God is an unimaginably powerful force, and you will never understand what it means to have wisdom, to have understanding…you’ll never really understand the universe until you understand God’s power and until you learn to fear it and fear him and respect him as your creator.