“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10 niv).
We usually equate wisdom with our capacity to understand knowledge. Knowledge equals wisdom. Some may add that wisdom is the proper application of knowledge.
The Bible, however, teaches that wisdom equals the fear of God. That’s a rather odd equation for us, because when we speak of fear, we refer to an emotion connected with dread or terror. Those aspects are part of the biblical idea of fear, but within the Old Testament, fear of God is often synonymous with love of God.
Deuteronomy 6:5 called upon the children of Israel to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” A few verses later, within the same spirit, they are commanded: “You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name” (Deuteronomy 6:13 nkjv).
Loving God means fearing Him and serving Him wholeheartedly. In other words, we fear (love) God by obeying (serving) Him in everything that we say and do.
Within the Bible, one does not gain wisdom by merely acquiring knowledge, information, or facts. Wisdom comes from fearing (obeying) God and His commandments. To know something within the Bible refers to a relational interaction.
After Abraham obeyed God and took Isaac to offer him up, God said to Abraham, “For now I know that you truly fear God” (Genesis 22:12 nlt). He knew that Abraham feared God because Abraham obeyed. One cannot know God without obeying God. And God learns our degree of commitment through our obedience to Him.
Wisdom, then, comes from obeying God, which is what relationship with God looks like in the Bible. It comes through relational interaction, which pertains to our doing His commands, not our emotions about Him.
Do we daily pursue the wisdom and insight of God? To acquire it, we must fear (love and obey) Him. This is what it truly means to have a relationship with God.
Father, may we grow in our fear and knowledge of You today as we obey You with all our heart, soul, and strength. Amen.