Sudden fear, dread, terror that comes suddenly - all these are things that wisdom will protect us from in our lives. Now please do not misunderstand that this passage is not saying that bad things will never happen to good people. We all know that we've grieved over godly people who have been killed in car accidents and in other disasters. But what is promised here is that the godly - those who build their lives on wisdom - who are guided by the north star of God's Word - will not have the "onslaught of the wicked" when they are punished for their wickedness.
Let me quote several passages of Scripture to help us grasp this concept of the Word. Psalm 121 tells us of the protective care of the Lord. Verses three and four are especially comforting to us. "He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep." (Psalm 121:3-4) God promises great peace and protection to those whose lives are guided by His wisdom. But for the wicked God promises that this thing called, sudden terror and sudden fear will come upon them. Proverbs 1:26-27 speaks of a "dread" that comes upon the wicked. It says that dread, calamity, and distress will come like a storm and like a whirlwind. Then again in Psalm 49 we read of the foolish and those who approve their foolish words this terrifying statement made by the Lord, "As sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall rule over them in the morning, And their form shall be for Sheol to consume So that they have no habitation." (Psalm 49:14)
The above passages instruct us as to the end of the foolish who ignore and mock God's wisdom and Word. They will have a sudden end that will overtake them. In Psalm 73 David struggled with why the wicked often seem to have it so good in their lives here on the earth. He came to the point of almost losing his faith and betraying others who followed God with all their hearts. Then he said that he came into the sanctuary and saw the latter end of these who walk in wickedness and foolishness. He spoke of how suddenly they fall and are destroyed. No matter how good anyone has it here on the earth, they will one day face God in the judgment. No matter how awesome they have it now - there is a latter end for them when all their deeds will follow them to that place of ultimate payback or reward. The wicked who will not turn from their sinful ways will face this ultimate dread - but the godly who order their ways according to God's wisdom will not have this happen to them.
We are told in verse 26 that Jehovah will be our "confidence." The Hebrew word for "confidence" here is fascinating because of what is points to spiritually. The word is "kesel" and it means a sense of confidence and security. It also points to an area of the body - the midsection or specifically the area where our kidneys are located. The reason this is fascinating is because in Leviticus 3:4,10,15; Leviticus 4:9 and Leviticus 7:4 this exact same word is used of sacrifices that were made before God. In Leviticus 3 it is used of the peace offering that was made before God. In Leviticus 4 it was the sin offering and in chapter 7 it spoke of the guilt offering. When we consider this word and its usage it paints a beautiful picture for us of what Christ does for us. These were all pictures of how these sacrifices would take care of sin and promise peace to those who confessed their sin and brought them to God for a payment for that sin. They were all precursors of what Jesus Christ would do through His death and resurrection. Thus the idea here is that our confidence is not in ourselves but rather in our Lord. That is exactly what this verse says - that Jehovah will be our confidence.
We are also told that our foot will not be caught in the snares of the wicked - in the things which their lifestyles bring upon them. Our foot will be firmly planted on a rock - the Rock Christ Jesus. We will have our lives firmly planted in the Word of God - which is the rock upon which the house that did not fall was built. The sand of the world system and its shifting views of truth and godliness will not stand in that day. Instead they will face the sudden fear and sudden onslaught of God's judgment in the end. But for those of us who love the Lord and live according to His wisdom, our ultimate fears are gone - taken away by the grace of God and the "kidneys of Jesus Christ" which were offered on our behalf as a peace offering, a guilt offering, and a sin offering which brings us into God's favor and protection. Learn to delight, not in yourself and your own strength, but rather in God who freely has given us forgiveness and grace in Christ Jesus our Lord!