“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7, ESV et al.).
Everyone needs a new beginning with God. That is why we receive the gospel. We want what only God can do for us, and the fear of the Lord is how we receive it. The fear of the Lord is both a doorway and a pathway. It is a new beginning, and it never ends.
What then is the fear of the Lord? It is not a cringing dread before the Lord. The fear of the Lord is openness to him, eagerness to please him, humility to be instructed by him (Prov. 15:33). The fear of the Lord is a willingness to turn from evil and change (Job 28:28). The fear of the Lord is surrender to his will (Gen. 22:12). The fear of the Lord is one way we love him (Deut. 6:2, 5). Reverence toward God, perhaps surprisingly, builds our confidence and flows out as a “fountain of life” into everyone and everything we care about (Prov. 14:26, 27). It takes us to a place of maturity where no one has to follow us around with a tedious list of do’s and don’ts. We are motivated from deep within.
– Ray Ortlund Jr. in Proverbs