Fear of the LORD

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. (Psalm 111:10)

Matthew Henry commented that: “No man is wise who does not fear the Lord; no man acts wisely except as influenced by that fear. This fear will lead to repentance, to faith in Christ, to watchfulness and obedience. Such persons are of a good understanding, however poor, unlearned, or despised.”

The Fear of the LORD is also addressed in Psalm 34 verses 12 through 15. “Since David speaks in this Psalm of the extraordinary care G-d grants to those who fear Him, David saw fit to advise us how we can achieve this stature.  He instructs that fearing G-d requires discipline and discretion in speech, action and thought: avoiding inappropriate or hurtful speech, refraining from misconduct, performing Mitzvot, and pursuing social harmony.

“This chapter thus speaks of the benefits of Yir’at Hashem (Fear of G-d), and of what it means to live a life of Yir’at Hashem.  David reminds us here that fear of G-d guarantees a person protection and blessing, and that fear of G-d is well within the reach of every individual who is prepared to commit himself to the values and laws of the Torah.” Daily Tehillim.

As I think about discipline and discretion in speech, action, and thought, I think about not only refraining from the negatives in each area, but also of the positives. Take speech for instance. While in the book of James, we are instructed about controlling our tongues, we are told by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians (4:25) “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” This means that we are obligated to not only refrain from hurtful speech, but to speak out based upon our love of G-d, and truth.

For some of us, it is difficult to hold our tongues, to not say what is on the top of our minds. It is easy, then, to let loose an uncontrolled tongue, to lash out. This is the tongue that James says needs to be controlled. This is the tongue that spews forth venom. But for some of us, it is easy to hold our tongues, to control them and not speak. We are the doormats. It is to those of us that Paul speaks. For we too easily  withhold truths from people that maybe necessary for growth.

Balance. The Fear of G-d results in wisdom, a wisdom producing the balance necessary for righteous speech that speaks the truth in love.

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