Wisdom and the Fear of God


Wisdom is the ability to know what is the right thing to do. Obviously before we can do the right thing, we have to know what it is. From God’s point of view, if He sees that someone really wants to do the right thing, He will let him understand (John 7:17). If someone wants to know wisdom just for the sake of intellectual curiosity or pride, then God has no interest in revealing to him what the right thing is (Matthew 11:25).

If we do want to do the right thing and don’t know what it is, then we are invited by God to ask Him; He will be delighted to show us (Ephesians 1:17, James 1:5).

The first part of seeking wisdom goes a bit against our natural inclinations:

“The fear of YHVH is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7)

Fear of YHVH is knowing that God punishes sin and that we have all sinned.

It’s as if someone is travelling on a road, and then checks the map and realizes he is heading in the wrong direction. He has to stop, reevaluate and turn around. That is not easy. It is called “repentance”. Repentance is the first step to obeying God.

Fear of God can also be defined as “moral courage”. Yeshua defined the fear of YHVH as fearing the punishment of hell after death (Luke 12:5). That is the bottom line in the fear of God.

Yet in that same passage, Yeshua spoke 7 times of not fearing any man, need or circumstances (Luke 12:4, 7, 11, 22, 26, 29, 32). The fear of God eliminates every other kind of fear in life. To have the fear of God is to be totally fearless of every danger.

The Bible describes the fear of God as the “beginning” of wisdom. Yet sometimes the first becomes the last. It seems that for many, the true fear of God is the very last part of wisdom to be understood. Let us diligently seek for the fear of YHVH (Jeremiah 5:24, Job 28:28). Yeshua had a regular habit of seeking the fear of God in early morning prayer through tears and groaning (Mark 1:35, Hebrews 5:7).

When we realize that God punishes evil, then we can:

  1. Stop doing things wrongly ourselves
  2. Not be afraid of evil in others
  3. Fight evil in the world.

Thus the fear of the Lord gives us the moral courage to stand up against evil even though it is scary to do so (and of course after having repented ourselves.)

“The fear of YHVH is to hate evil.” (Proverbs 8:13)

Unfortunately, most of us are active in being selfish and passive in standing against evil. However, the fear of God gives us an active power to fight against evil – first in ourselves and then in others. It is said that all that is needed for evil to triumph is for the good to do nothing. The fear of YHVH provides the moral courage to fight evil.