Psalm 111 has its own beauty. It's an acrostic poem, which means that each of the twenty two phrases in it begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Poems have a special way of touching our soul.
But the little observation in the final verse, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," surely catches our imagination and provokes reflection. The "fear" that the psalmist advocates isn't the type that provokes a "fight or flight" reaction, but a fear that leads to wisdom.
This "fear" is reverence, respect and a willingness to obey and serve. "Wisdom" has to do with pleasing God in life and knowing the wholeness that comes to us when we are in harmony with God's intentions. Of course, this makes sense in our lives. When we love and respect God, we're on the way to becoming the wise person that God intends.
Here is something to always remember: if you are afraid that God will not like who you are and what you do, repent and say a prayer, but don't let that feeling of unworthiness keep you from welcoming a relationship with God that will make you a person of wisdom and joy.
Psalm 111 (NRSV)
1 Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.