It is so sad that we cannot walk with God as Abraham walked—in sacrificial obedience and as a friend of God—without the fear of the Lord. Many of today’s Christians desire all the blessings but don’t want to pay the price. We want to be God’s friend and we want to serve Him, but we also want to skip over the surrender and obedience parts because they are hard. Rather, we like to say, “If you feel like it, do it.” I’m sure Abraham did not feel like sacrificing his son. But he was prepared to do anything, motivated by love and holy fear.
God tells us that this holy fear of Him is the beginning of all wisdom in our lives (see Psalm 111:10). “Nowhere in the Bible does it say that ‘the grace of God is the beginning of wisdom.’ ” Wisdom is practical knowledge of the Word lived out in obedience. To have wisdom is to understand. Our word “understand” comes from a root word meaning “to align oneself with or stand under.” To understand, a person must “stand under” in obedience to God and His Word. The fear of the Lord helps bring this obedience.
So often we misunderstand obedience and call it legalism. We resist doing anything that we do not want to do and quickly cast off the guilt that comes from not obeying. Because of this, we miss the whole reason that God calls us to obedience—that we might know Him, be blessed by Him and be a friend of God. He is God and He is to be feared and obeyed, known and loved.
In Matthew 7:24, Jesus said, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” The wise man heard God and then obeyed. This must be the progression in our lives—acting on the things that we hear. This is how the fear of the Lord is the beginning—the foundation— of our whole Christian life. The fear of the Lord is like the ABCs; it is impossible to walk intimately with the Lord Jesus without it. This is why we cannot downplay obedience and consider it something optional.