An illustration on the Fear of the Lord from “Let Me Illustrate,” by Donald Grey Barnhouse.
Several years ago I married a young couple who were, and still are, very much in love with one another. They had met when they were thirteen and fourteen, had never looked at anyone else, and wouldn’t today after all these years. They went away on their honeymoon and after a few weeks came home again. I saw them in church the next Sunday and greeted them with a little pleasantry. I asked the groom if his bride had burned the roast for the first dinner. They laughed, and she said, “Oh, I was afraid that I was going to. I had read so much about the bride being unable to cook that I decided that John was going to have the very best meal a bride could prepare for her husband. So I began about three o’clock. I got everything out and started to work. When I finally put things on to cook, I wanted everything to turn out well, and I was afraid they wouldn’t, and, of course, he had to be a little late, and I was so afraid things would be spoiled.” I interrupted her and said, “You have said three times that you were afraid. Did you think that he was going to beat you?” She pouted and said, “Of course not.” She looked at him with all the love of her heart in her eyes. “But,” I persisted, “you said that you were afraid.” She broke in, “You know what I mean.” And of course I knew what she meant. Her fear was not fright; her fear was a great desire to serve the one who to whom she had given herself to entirely. In this case the fear of John was the beginning of good cooking.
Perhaps that will enable you to understand how the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Some Christians do not understand the difference between fear of the Lord and fright of the Lord. If you have bowed before God and accepted the gift of His love and mercy through the Lord Jesus Christ, you need have no fright. Fear in the Bible sense is a godly thing, a wonderful thing, a lovely thing.