Fear has many faces and most bring unhealthy emotional turmoil. There is a fear however that is beneficial to man and comes to him when he hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), acknowledges his state of sin (Romans 3:23), and calls out for salvation with confession and belief (Romans 10:9-10). King Solomon speaks of such fear in Proverbs.
“The fear of the Lord is the
beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
Why is Solomon stating that this fear is “the beginning of knowledge?” He wants to emphasize that there should be an ongoing pursuit to know even more about the Lord God. A believer must strive to learn all he can about the Lord by spending time in prayer and reading Scripture. This fear equates to a loyal heart filled with admiration and respect for the Lord, as well as an intentional commitment of obedience to Him.
Solomon concludes this verse by stating that those who spurn wisdom and instruction, not of an intellectual nature but of everything pertaining to God, are fools. Evidently he had observed the words and deeds of some of the people of his day and identified them as fools. God clearly sees and discerns all people’s hearts, identifying each individual as a “Fearer of the Lord” or a “Fool Despising Wisdom and Instruction.” This truth should cause the believer’s fear of the Lord to swell within his heart even more. The fool on the other hand probably would not even give this truth a second thought and if he did, contempt would fill his heart.