Psalm 111 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 111

“Reverence for you, O Holy One, is the beginning of wisdom.

A good understanding have all who practice it.” Psalm 111:10 

This verse is usually translated “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  I get it.  One who can make the explosive and incredibly detailed universe must be terrifying.  But I am opting for Nan Merrill’s paraphrase (Psalms for Praying).  In spite of the terrifying aspects of creation, even in the midst of its most dangerous outbursts, there is so much that invites reverence.  There isn’t a day on the trail that I don’the see, hear, smell or touch something that stops me with awe.  The photo above resulted from one of those moments. So fear?  Many have pointed out to me that whenever a messenger of God shows up in the biblical accounts, inevitably the first words are, “Do not fear!”  Jesus frequently told his disciples and others not to be afraid.  One New Testament writer says, “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them….There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:16, 18).

So let’s go with reverence, maybe even trembling reverence as being the beginning of wisdom.  Those who truly have a trembling reverence for life and love and God are the ones who seem wise to me and are people from whom I learn much.


1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?  Do you have another way to describe fear of or  trembling reverence for God?

2. Or read all of Psalm 111 and see where these verses fit in.  

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that is a window of this verse’s meaning for you.

Tomorrow’s psalm will be Psalm 112:5.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.