However, a primary and basic element in the fear of Yahweh is revelation. Read Deuteronomy 4:1–15, a passage with which Solomon would have been intimately familiar. The chapter opens with a call to Israel to hold tight to the words of God (vv. 1–3), which is equivalent to clinging to God Himself (v. 4–5). Moses stresses that it is the possession of this verbal revelation which is both their national wisdom and their point of distinction on the international scene (vv. 6–8). So they must hold fast the words and the memory of their encounter with God (vv. 9–10).
Of particular interest to us is Deuteronomy 4:10, where Moses recalls
“…the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’”From this verse and the larger context I isolate two observations:
1. “Fear” here clearly is not merely an emotion—or else I think that the fire and all (v. 11) would have done the trick.And then we see in verses 12–14 where Yahweh Himself directs the spotlight in that entire encounter. So many today pine and yearn for anything remotely supernatural—and here it is, on bold display. Darkness, clouds, fire, the very voice of God. Is that where Yahweh fixes their attention?
2. “Fear” here is something that must be learned, and that requires revelation from God. God commanded that the people hear His words “so that they may learn to fear” Him, and that they might teach the fear of Yahweh their children.
No. In fact, Yahweh expressly says, “You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice” (v. 12b). He goes on to relate at length the fact that He revealed and inscribed the Ten Commandments (v. 13) and commanded Moses to teach them “statutes and rules” that they might do them (v. 14). There was no form, only the word of God (v. 15). God emphasizes His word, and specifically stresses that He spoke to them, that He rendered Himself quotable.Therefore, if anyone wishes to learn to fear God today, he will not chase off after reports of supernatural outbreaks here and there. Instead, he will open his Bible, and he will pray that God open his heart to hear His voice speaking through it, and will teach him to fear God thereby (cf. Psa. 119:18; Heb. 3:7ff.).
The point comes up again in Deuteronomy 31:9–13, where Moses commanded the Levites to read the Word of God to the people at their national assembly “in order that they may hear and learn and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law” (v. 12 NAS, emphases added), and that their children may also hear, and learn to fear Yahweh (v. 13).
Deuteronomy 31:13 is worth further emphasis, in that God expressly declares that this is how the children “who have not known” would learn to fear Him. “Have not known” what? In context, they have not known His miraculous deeds (cf. 11:2). By saying this, God is indicating that the truth and power of His Word are sufficient. Unlike some late-arrivers who have attempted to make the case that supernatural “special effects” are necessary for vital Christian faith, God says that His Word is not only sufficient, but superior.
(Excerpt from Chapter Three, "The Foundation of Wisdom," in God's Wisdom in Proverbs, 71-72)