The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – Proverbs 9:10
Wait what? Fear? Doesn’t God love us? Are we supposed to be afraid of Him? Well, yes and no.
Have you ever given God reason to be upset with you? If so, this definitely would be reason to be afraid. But doesn’t this fear come from knowing who He is? When we do wrong to someone weaker than ourself we aren’t typically scared of what they might do. But God made everything, knows everything, and exists in all time and places. When we upset the Maker of the universe, that is a chilling thought.
This awareness helps us understand what “fear of the Lord” means. We realize who He is. But God understands that the recognition of His power and authority is terrifying to us. So He has told us He loves us, and shows us that over and over. That changes our response from one of dread to one of reverence and awe. We do not have to cower in fear, but we come to Him in adoration. God’s love inspires our thankfulness, even as we declare His greatness.
This is where wisdom begins, in acknowledging God as all-powerful creator and yet knowing He loves us. It is a beautiful mix of reverence, awe and trust.