Forty years ago I heard a man, posing as a gospel preacher, pound the podium and proclaim with a loud voice and a red face that “there had to be something wrong with a Christian who ever felt a need to hear that we should ‘fear God’.” In the same congregation, the “youth director” advised the young people that they should not think in terms of “fearing God” at all, just concentrate on the positive. After all, it is all about love. It is my perception that most, if not all, Christians who would classify themselves as moderate, contemporary, or progressive (liberal?), would consider it politically improper, and for sure negative, to even mention the need for Christians to “Fear God.” It’s all about love. It’s all about being positive.
However, the same brethren would be quick to agree that to seek wisdom would be a very positive thing to do. It is considered positive to “be wise” and have understanding. There are 234 occurrences of the word “wisdom” in the Bible, indicating the importance of seeking and possessing wisdom.
In the introduction to the book of Proverbs, Solomon begins to tie “wisdom” to “the fear of the LORD”: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov 1:7). Proverbs chapter 8 is written with “wisdom” speaking in the first person. Beginning in verse 12: “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”
He says the fear of the Lord is to hate evil. If you refuse to fear the Lord, what evil is it that you do not hate? If God hates it, we must hate it also. Verse 13 clearly states: (1) If you have wisdom, if you are wise, you will hate evil. (2) The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.
Logical Conclusion: You cannot have wisdom without fearing the Lord. We can also bring Proverbs 1:7 back into the equation and conclude that anyone that does not fear the Lord is a fool.
Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” It seems to me that fearing the Lord is a very positive thing to do!