This verse comes right on the heels of God speaking the 10 Commandments to Moses and Aaron in Exodus 20. After God spoke the 10 Commandments, the people were freaked out, and with good reason!
After the 10 Commandments were spoken, the “people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking” and “the people were afraid and trembled…” (Exodus 20:18).
There are certain things we should fear, speaking of the fear of Lord (which is the beginning of knowledge! – Prov. 1:7). Moses even tells the people toward the end of Exodus 20:20 that they should fear God so that they may not sin. When we have things in proper perspective, when we fear the Lord, are in awe or who He is, and have a healthy reverence and respect for our God and Creator and Savior, it should lead us toward a life where the pull and draw of sin are outweighed by our awe and reverence for our awesome God and outweighed by the joyful, healing, full, satisfactory life available through Jesus Christ.
One commentator writes about the fear of the Lord in this passage, saying this fear is the kind “which promotes and demonstrates the presence of an attitude of complete trust and belief in God” which then inspires believers to live a life in this complete trust and belief in God instead of living a life of sin and unrepentant hearts.
Fear is not always a healthy or good thing. But a healthy, right, understanding fear of the Lord is not just the beginning of knowledge, it can be a catalyst to helping us live a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called as believers and followers of Jesus Christ.