The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;

all those who practice it have a good understanding.

His praise endures forever!

Psalm 111: 10


It is an interesting mixture of elements that the writer of this psalm has blended together here. Fear, wisdom, and understanding are swirled around together, and the resultant drink is an enduring chorus of praise to the Lord. Life is often not conducted with fear of the Lord as its guidance and mindset. This concept of fear goes deep into God’s Word as Moses originally expresses it in his writings, and it is a theme that runs onward through the story of God’s relationship with us. This deep, foundational respect and reverence for God is, it seems, a rare quality today. This world is populated with people who respect little that does not come from within their own understanding; so, in their perspective, God has become irrelevant and is often placed on a shelf in a mental and moral museum of curious artifacts.


Yet, this way of thinking and of conducting life is in itself unwise to the point of being foolish. Wisdom is not something to be taken so lightly. It is the anchor for the sort of decision-making that keeps us out of dangerous and destructive situations and that helps us to remain engaged in close and lasting relationships with others. Wisdom overcomes desire and puts the brakes on impulsive thought so that restraint can gain control over our actions. The wisdom that God imparts to us in not just an inert idea or set of laws and rules to follow; rather, it is dynamic and alive. So it is something that we are required to engage with and in. As it is not natural or innate in us, we must turn to God for it and exercise discipline in growing it within us.


As we seek the Lord and know His heart and dwell in His will, we are granted ever-increasing understanding. It is this ability to respond to life in ways that reflect the nature and the character of God that becomes our platform from which day-to-day and moment-by-moment decisions are made. So, in a very real way, the Lord’s heart and mind become the direct and the ever-present originator of most of our thought and actions. A life that is lived in this manner is loving, concerned for others, respectful, and righteous, and it stands out in our world as a hymn of praise to the Lord.