“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” (Psalm 111:10, NIV)
How many times have we have heard (or said) the lament, “I wish I knew then what I know now“?
Knowledge alone will not keep us from foolishness. On the contrary, for many people, a discovery becomes a kind of “dare.” We do a new thing, not because we ought; but because we can.
Knowledge plus “experience” over time develops wisdom, but there is a short-cut: The abiding fear of the Lord.
Many of us reject the idea that we ought to “fear” God. The problem here isn’t the concept, but our view of the word “fear.”
I fear God the same way I “fear” electricity: I don’t completely understand electricity, but I do rely on it to light my nights, to power the devices I need to do my daily work, and I depend on it in a hundred other ways. I am quite comfortable having electricity in my life.
I also know (from admonitions, not from first-hand experience) that no matter how comfortable I may become with electricity, if I stick a knife into a live circuit, I will learn why electricity — because of its nature — ought to be feared, and treated with reverence.
When we have “fear” or “reverence” of the Lord, His word becomes the highest authority in our life. When we allow God to inform our thinking, to guide our actions, and to challenge our planning, we have both the knowledge of today; the wisdom of the ages; and a lot fewer instances of, “I wish I knew then what I know now.” – Luther