"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."
Proverbs 9:10 a
It's been said that Wisdom is knowing how to correctly use knowledge. Knowledge can be acquired, but wisdom is a blessing that comes from God.
Solomon taught that the beginning, or origin of wisdom is in the "fear" of God. Sometimes this is a difficult concept for us to comprehend because of the way we use the word "fear" in the English language. Webster's dictionary gives the following definition of the word fear;
"an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger."
This use of the word speaks of something that the average person would want to avoid, but we know this is not God's desire. The entire Bible is the story of God's work to restore fallen man back to relationship with Himself, not trying to scare them away.
The Hebrew word, from which the word "fear" is translated, is "yirah", meaning "fear, terror, respect". Of those three words I think that respect is the one that best expresses what God intended when He inspired the writer. It's true that Jehovah God is ALL powerful. There is no power apart from Him. He could destroy us, turn us into frogs, or give us all leprosy, but that's not who He is. Someone who is terrified of God doesn't know Him.
While we aren't to be terrified of God we shouldn't diminish Him to the status of a buddy, or pal either. He is our Father, and worthy of due honor. We should respect Him because He is holy, and perfectly righteous.
The "Online Etymology Dictionary" says that the word "Respect" comes from the latin "Re" (back, or again), and "Specere" (look at, or observe). It provides the following definition;
"to regard, notice with special attention."
As we go through our day our eyes see many things in passing, but we just pass on by them. The word Respect refers to something that we see that stops us in our tracks, that won't let pass it by; We do a "Double-Take". It's something out of the ordinary that's worthy of "Special Attention".
Webster's defines the word "Special" as';
"distinguished by some unusual quality, especially : being in some way superior."
So wisdom comes from giving God "Special Attention". How do we know whether or not we are giving God special attention? Well, is the attention we give Him superior, greater, more, in Quantity or Quality than the attention we give other things or people, in life?
"Christianity Today" released new research as part of the "Transformational Discipleship Study" that shows only 19% of churchgoers personally (not as part of a church worship service) read the Bible every day. One out of five churchgoing people pray everyday.
Do 20% of churchgoing people go to their jobs everyday and the rest not? Do 20% of churchgoing people pay their bills and the rest not pay them? Do 20% of churchgoing college students attend their classes and the rest not? Our jobs, our bills, and our classes, are all everyday, mundane, things of this world, but seem to merit more of our attention than Bible reading, and growing in intimacy with our Father.
To grow in wisdom is to grow in our relationship and intimacy with the Father. God gave marriage as a type of our relationship with Him. Marriage is between one man and one woman for life, according the the Biblical standard. Intimacy in marriage as God defined it, is the apex of intimacy among all human relationships. It is where one man focuses all of their affection on one woman, and vice versa. That man gets and gives special attention from and for, that woman. In Isaiah 29:13;
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart"
God says that finding Him, growing in intimacy, requires that we seek Him with all of our heart; it requires "Special Attention". This is the origin of wisdom.
Our sinful nature (the flesh) wants nothing to do with God, so giving Him special attention will not come naturally, or easily. We must develop the disciplines that build an intimate relationship.
It is worth the struggle against our sinful nature to grow in the knowledge of love of God, our Father.