When we look at this Psalm, how do we praise the Lord? And in verse ten, what does the Psalmist mean? Do you know the answer? Do you even care? You should, I think, because it says a lot about God and our relationship with him.
In the last verse of our Psalm, we read that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. What, exactly, does this mean? What is this fear of the Lord? Are we supposed to be afraid of God? How does this praise God?
Some folks would have us believe that this fear is to be terrified of God—to be afraid of him. If this were the case, I sincerely doubt there would be many people who would (or could) worship him in spirit and in truth. They might go through the motions of worship with the pious sounding words and actions, but that would be about it. They wouldn’t be capable of truly loving him and worshipping him, I think. They would be too wrapped up in acts of survival. They would never hear or understand Jesus’ gracious invitation and command to allow the little children to come to him and not forbid them.
A better understanding of “the fear of the Lord” would be more akin to what singer Aretha Franklin sang about in her hit song. The true fear of the Lord is to know him, honor him, and love him unequivocally (without equal). It is to respect him for who he is, what he does, and what he demands. Or, to put it another way, it means that we love him with nothing held back: with all our heart, soul and mind. No reservations! This adds a new dimension to the concept of fear, love, and trust him above all things. It is very much like looking at the different facets of a cut diamond or other gem stone – seeing the different colors and flashes of light.
With this in mind, for me at least, it becomes possible to better understand and appreciate what the Psalmist wrote in our text. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever."
We pray: Lord God Almighty, help us to see you for who you are and to love you for what you have done, especially in your Son Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.