This article is part of the What Does It Mean? series.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.—Proverbs 1:7
Let’s begin by considering these two memorable scenes from the Old Testament:
In the first, Moses is shepherding Jethro’s flocks in the desert when he turns aside to behold a burning bush. There Moses hears God say: “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground” (Ex. 3:5).
In the second, Isaiah sees a vision of the Lord gloriously seated on his throne and surrounded by a host of seraphim. Isaiah cries out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isa. 6:5).
Both scenes put us face to face with the utter holiness and otherness of God. They are also a…