The Book of Proverbs: The Fear of the Lord

Proverbs 1‑31  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 5
If you will turn to the book of Proverbs, you will be interested to see how you get “the fear of the Lord” spoken of so very frequently there. In the Proverbs, I believe God gives us the furnishing of the understanding. If you have time, read a chapter every day of your life. It will preserve you from much sorrow and trouble in your pathway here. I want to point out the way, in the structure of the Bible, in which it is connected. The next two books, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon, have to say to the heart. You have the conscience in the Psalms; the understanding in Proverbs, and in the next two books, the heart. They are the compliment of each other.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon talks of the heart, only to confess that it is empty, and in the Song of Solomon it is more than full. In the one, the heart is too big for the object—the world, all under the sun—; and in the other, the object—Christ—is too big for the heart. One book is heartache, and the other is heart’s-ease. The secret of divine peace and joy is found in the Song of Solomon. It is occupation with the love, and the person of Christ.
But now for the Proverbs. You will find seven times in this book what the fear of the Lord is stated to be.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:77The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)). The fear of the Lord is the first step to knowledge and progress. Now pass onto the eighth chapter.
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth, do I hate” (Prov. 8:1313The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)). Things which He hates, we should, or His fear is not in us. Next we get,
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Prov. 9:1010The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)). There is great difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge may puff me up, but wisdom will never puff me up. Knowledge is the apprehension of the truth, but wisdom is the capacity of using the truth. It is the way in which the soul, led of God, can use what it has rightly, and divinely. Then,
“The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened” (Prov. 10:2727The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened. (Proverbs 10:27)). It is very similar in its tone to what we shall find in the Psalms.
Next we read,
“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death” (Prov. 14:2727The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. (Proverbs 14:27)). A sure way of escaping Satan’s snares is of priceless value. Sixthly we read,
“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility” (Prov. 15:3333The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility. (Proverbs 15:33)). Wisdom is always willing to learn, it is only fools who need no instruction. And now lastly,
“The fear of the Lord tendeth to life; and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil” (Prov. 19:2323The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. (Proverbs 19:23)). Abiding satisfaction is a sweet fruit of this holy fear.