If you read through the book of Proverbs, you will see this phrase numerous times, "the fear of the Lord..." But who knows what it means? Better yet, who is willing to delve deeper into the Word to find out what it means?
By doing a simple search on www.blueletterbible.com in the English Standard Version (ESV) within the book of Proverbs, 14 results came up: 1:7, 29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26, 27; 15:16, 33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4; & 23:17.
With the verses lined out in this way a common theme jumped out at me, the book of Proverbs tells us what 'the fear of the Lord' is! Isn't that just like our God!? To give us such a perplexing phrase, but then tell us exactly what it means! According to the verses stated above, 'the fear of the Lord' is: a choice, the beginning of knowledge, the hatred of evil, the beginning of wisdom, prolongs life, gives you strong confidence, a fountain of life, instruction of wisdom, and the ability to turn away from evil.
If you are a parent, many of these attributes may sound familiar. If our children have a healthy fear of us as their parents, that 'fear' offers them wisdom, protection, greater knowledge, and stronger confidence. This fear comes from the experiential knowledge that there are consequences for our actions or lack of action. If my child disobeys me while we are in a parking lot and takes off running there are two possible consequences: they will be hit by a vehicle or they will get disciplined from me in a memorable form to aid in preventing the same behavior at a later time. However, if they have learned from previous experiences and have a healthy 'fear' of me, they will obey holding my hand while in the parking lot having the knowledge that I will keep them protected to the best of my ability.
Take the time today to look over some of these verses in Proverbs about having a healthy 'fear of the Lord' and evaluate your life: are you making the choice to obey and 'fear' Him, are you growing in the knowledge and wisdom of Him, do you have the ability to turn away from evil through Him, do you have the strong confidence that He is for you and not against you? It is my prayer that we all gain a deeper heart knowledge of our Savior and not just head knowledge as He holds our hand while we walk through this parking lot of life.