The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 (KJV)
We can’t really begin to truly process our world and understand it without first acknowledging God.
John Gill in his commentary on this verse wrote:
By “the fear of the Lord” is not meant a servile fear, a fear of punishment, of hell, wrath, and damnation, which is the effect of the first work of the law upon the conscience; but a filial fear, and supposes knowledge of God as a father, of his love and grace in Christ, particularly of his forgiving love, from whence it arises, Psalm 130:4; it is a holy, humble, fiducial fear of God; a reverential affection for him, and devotion to him; it includes the whole of religious worship, both internal and external; all that is contained in the first table of the law, and the manner of performing it, and principle of acting: this is the first of all sciences to be learned, and it is the principal one; it is the basis and foundation of all the rest, on which they depend; and it is the head, the fountain, the root an source, from whence they spring; and unless a man knows God, knows God in Christ, and worships him in his fear, in spirit and in truth, according to his revealed will, he knows nothing as he ought to know; and all his knowledge will be of no avail and profit to him; this is the first and chief thing in spiritual and evangelical knowledge, and without which all natural knowledge will signify nothing . . .
So this fear of the Lord involves getting to know Him. We can do that through reading the Bible. And until we start that process of fearing the Lord, in the filial way Gill describes, all other knowledge pales in comparison.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
– Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV 1984)
One of the best proverbs, simple and pure! I like the way the old NIV puts it best, but KJV is always good, too.
I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
– Psalm 119:11 (WEB)
Scripture has a funny way of inserting itself into your thoughts. The Lord changes the way we think as we read and meditate on His word. In many ways, our thinking becomes aligned with His.
Not in all ways, of course. But in some ways you begin to see things the way He wants you to. For instance, habitual sins are easier to break when reflecting on specific verses. There is power in God’s word.
An excellent online resource for dealing with and breaking habitual sins is Focus on the Family’s Life Challenges page.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
– Psalm 23 (KJV)
Is there anything more beautiful that has ever been written than the 23rd Psalm? I still prefer to read it in the King James Version. Even with our many wonderful modern translations, those anonymous scholars in 17th century England created a wonderful and melodious rendition of King David’s ancient song for English speakers that has yet to be matched.
The Bible says God considered David a man after his own heart. I found this post by Ron Edmondson entitled 10 Reasons David is called “A Man After God’s Own Heart.” It’s worth the read.
Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
– Psalm 127:1b (NIV)
It seems to me a common thread in the Old Testament is the fate of cities. Often in ancient times, cities were incredibly important and defined whole people groups. Think Athens versus Sparta. The Bible makes clear time and again that the fate of cities is in the Lord’s hands.
If the Lord wants to take out a city, He will. See Sodom and Gomorrah. If the Lord decides not to take out a city, He won’t. See Nineveh in the Book of Jonah.
It also seems to me that God extends this concept all the way up to entire nations, and all the way down to single households.
For an excellent discussion on Sodom and Gomorrah and the events leading to their destruction, read this sermon by Keith Krell.