That kind of “fear” of “pain” is what I always seem to think about when I read Bible verses like today’s about fearing the Lord. The thing is, I know logically that we are not to “fear” God in the sense of Him choosing to do us harm. Today’s verse tells us it is wise to fear God and that shunning evil is understanding. This does not make clear sense to me at first, does it to you? How can fear bring wisdom?
I thought about this today as I read Job, and the “hot-stove” example helped me understand. A child is “ignorant” or “not-wise” at birth to know that a stove will burn them. This is why parents teach them to fear a burn from it. Once they learn this, it protects them and keeps them safe from harm. Without the knowledge (wisdom), they would repeatedly and foolishly get hurt.
Now, to take this a step further-as adults, are you ever tempted to just lay your hand on a hot stove? Is it hard for you every time you walk by in the kitchen not to put your hand there? No. Of course not! That’s ridiculous. We have the wisdom of a burn which eradicates any “temptation” to put our hand on it.
The more we know God, fear the dangers of DISOBEYING His commands and decrees, and the more we know His ways, (Ex. 15:26), the easier it is to avoid “burns”. We will shun evil, and all the pain it causes. As we become wiser, seeing through the lies of Satan about sin and its supposed “pleasures”, the less we will be tempted because we have literally “wised-up”. We know it would be idiotic to even step foot in the wrong direction. The more we fear God and gain wisdom, the more naturally we will shun evil. We will love what God loves and hate what he hates. This is the fear that we want to develop. This is the wisdom that protects us and makes us “wise” for eternity.