“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”Proverbs 1:7
What is the fear of the LORD, and why is it the beginning of knowledge?
A few years ago my family and I went to Ellis Island, where we saw the Statue of Liberty and got to tour the facility. One of the things that fascinated me about Ellis Island was hearing the various stories of people who emigrated to the US, and why. For many, there were push and pull factors which led people to leave their homeland and move to the US. Push factors are typically negative circumstances which pushed people out of their homes. Wanting to get away from oppression, despair, poverty, etc. were push factors, pushing people away from where they were. On the other hand, pull factors are those things such as wanting a better life, seeking a greater opportunity, a new start, new hope, etc., factors that drew people toward the hope of a better life in the US. These push and pull factors help us to understand the fear of the LORD as well. Push factors are the things we fear – punishment, consequences, judgment from God – which do lead us away from sin, but don’t necessarily endear us to God. But those fears are often where we start in our understanding of God. Pull factors are the things which draw us to a new experience and way of life – hope, a better future, love, adventure, grace, peace – which pull us toward God.
The fear of the LORD is a two-sided coin, with fear pushing us away from our circumstances and our sin, and with love pulling us toward a relationship with God. Fear is where we begin our journey.
— Pastor Jeff