If you don’t fear the Lord, you will soon find yourself in the company of fools. And a company of fools is easily stampeded off the cliff of whatever folly is nearby. By joining the herd of fools, you will soon find yourself lying in wait to shed innocent blood, seduced into the strange woman’s hellhole, implicated by the thefts & robberies of your comrades, chained by your own sloth, or all the above. Thus, you are admonished instead to fear the Lord, in so doing you begin to walk in wisdom.
This is the lesson which is repeated throughout Proverbs. Reverent fear for God frees us from the insane fears & follies of the herd. Those who do not have the fear of God before their eyes fear every falling leaf.
This is why they chase after ill-gotten gain; they fear not having their daily bread, so they plot to take the bread of others. They’re consumed with blood-lust, because their guilty conscience plagues them they look for others to sacrifice in their stead. They’re easily seduced; having no self-control they indulge every kink and toxin and desire which the mob insists must be enjoyed. Those who don’t fear God, always want a crowd to join them, hoping to be shielded from the watchful eye of the Lord.
It’s only by walking in the light of the holiness of God’s face that emboldens you to look in the face of foolish men or the strange woman and reply to their invitations to folly with a firm, “God forbid.” If you don’t fear God, you will run from everything. But when you humble yourself, & fear Him who made heaven & earth you stand fearless before lion’s dens, raging kings, sniveling religious leaders, conniving brigands, the loose woman’s seductions, the gladiator’s sword, and even a Roman cross.
All of our societal skittishness is that we have not feared God. When we pay reverence to the opinion of our fellow man, only paths of damnation open to us. But when we walk before the Lord with joyful reverence and godly fear, the paths of justice which He set us upon shines brighter and brighter until the perfect day. We walk without shame when we walk in the fear of the Lord. But when we do not fear God, the shame invites us to join the crowd of the shameful and follow whatever the impulse of the herd is. Instead of standing firm in the moment of testing, we give way. Whenever we sin, it’s first because we do not fear and reverence the Lord as we ought. May God give to us a reverent fear, for He is a consuming fire.
The potency of the Gospel is that it makes us fearless. When you are weighted down with shame and guilt, your folly compels you to go along with all manner of wickedness. But when we come before God, confess our sin in humility and reverence, we are made bold as lions, and can stand firm in the evil day.