Fear. When I think of fear my initial thought is the feeling that comes during a suspenseful movie. That chill of the unknown that you know is going to be there, but you aren’t sure what it is going to be. Or the feeling that comes over you when a cop pulls out behind you and turns on the bright blue lights… only just to pass you and pull someone else over. Sometimes you feel fear when you find out that you’re about to have your first child and life won’t ever be the same again. Fear could be about a big make it or break it test coming up. Fear takes shape in many different forms.

            In Proverbs 9:10 we find fear in a different form. It says, “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgement.” (NLT) This fear isn’t exactly what we first think of though. Most people think of fear the way the dictionary describes it. That would be “an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger, likely to cause pain or a threat.” Another definition that I liked was, “the likelihood of something unwelcome happening.” We don’t often think of the Lord in this manner.

            This definition of fear doesn’t particularly describe the way Proverbs is describing fear. When we are looking for wisdom we aren’t normally looking where something unwelcome would happen or a place that is of unpleasant emotion from danger. Proverbs is using reverent fear. Reverent fear is not about being afraid and scared of something but about living in a place of respect, awe, and wonder for who God is. When we talk about reverent fear we are talking about taking who God is seriously. We take seriously the things that God’s Word says as well. Knowing God and seeking who He really is helps us gain freedom from the enemy. People may try to twist God to sound mean and like someone who we wouldn’t want to follow, but when we seek to understand God, we can find His truth.

            It is easy to overlook who God is. He is an Amazing God, the creator of the Universe and everything in it. Just mediate on that. The One who created it All is the one who we seek to understand and gain wisdom from. We should live with the sense of reverent fear for the One who made it all is alive. Reverent fear allows us to live in a healthy way that uses the awareness of God to find wisdom and knowledge instead of hiding in fear and being afraid.

            Having a fear about something is a healthy thing. It is ok to be scared about things but the challenge is not letting that fear rule our lives. We don’t want to let fear get in the way when we serve God or when He calls us to do something. When we use fear it can help us be smart, when we let fear rule us however, it can slow us down. God uses the phrase “Fear Not” multiple times in the Bible and this should be our constant reminder when we face fear in our lives daily. Where can you listen to the call of the Lord in your life? Where is He calling you to step out? Fear Not, Seek the Lord, and put your trust in the One who created it all.

Mark Casella