“Fear of the Lord…”
We don’t like this phrase, do we? God is love and we’re not supposed to be afraid of Him, right?
Except that He said that is where the foundations of wisdom are found.
Some will say this is “just” the reverential fear of God, that we’re to be awestruck by Him. I think that’s true, but at the same time, I think our overuse of the word “awesome” has weakened the concept. (I’m Faye, and I’m an overuser of the word “awesome.”)
We say that the view is awesome, that our kids are awesome, that our vacation was awesome, that the food was awesome. It’s doesn’t evoke the notion of reverence or power, does it?
The kind of awe-filled fear mentioned here is the kind that stops us in our tracks and takes our breath. It brings a gasp, not of horror, but of amazement and wonder. It bows us, bringing us to our knees, if not physically, then spiritually and emotionally, in worship. This awe is utterly overwhelming, we don’t just turn and walk away from it.
This fear is in knowing that God is and that He does what He says He does. When we recognize that He is sovereign, ruling over everything; all-powerful, able to do what He says He will do, no matter what; and all-knowing, seeing deeper into our hearts and minds than we conceive, we might begin to realize that the one who created the universe with a word can also destroy it with a word… including us.
That’s SCARY!!! Indeed it is. Which is why we must look at the full picture, realizing that even in the midst of Israel’s blatant rejection of Him, He did not destroy them. When they repeatedly refused Him, God didn’t destroy them, he disciplined them. He could have wiped them from the face of the earth, but He did not. Instead, He provided a way for them (and us) to move into right standing with Him.
It is in this place of ongoing awe-filled fear that we find the beginning, the starting point and essence, of true wisdom. It is here that we begin to understand Who God is and who we are in relation to Him and then live accordingly. This is the beginning. The first step. The foundation.
It is from here that we can build a life and a strong, maturing faithwalk.
Have you been overwhelmed by the awe of God and who He is lately? Maybe today is the day to slow down enough to see Him as He is and feel the weight of His glory bow you to Him. (Read Isaiah 6:1-8.)
Coffee, Bible, Journal.
A few extra thoughts…
I know people who are caught up by this concept of the fear of the Lord, that they reject a relationship with him because of that phrase. They don’t want to be afraid of this God. But you know, this is the one God who is in control, who who is alive, who does amazing things. He’s not a God that we have on a shelf. He’s not the God that we can go to a statue and see.
I believe in Proverbs 15 talks about an idol, that we’ve made this piece of wood or stone into a god. But this god can’t even speak to us. So why wouldn’t we be fearful of Almighty God? Of Elohim, of YHWH? He is the one who can do things when the gods of this world cannot. The gods of this world we can control, the God of heaven, we cannot.
Let me just ask a question:
If you’re driving down the road, and the speed limit is 65, and you’re doing 80 and you see a highway patrolman; what do you do? Most of us slow down quite a bit. Is the reason for that just because we decided to slow down? Or is it because we don’t want the consequence that comes from being caught by that authority? We are driving in fear.
See, we do all kinds of things with a reverential fear. The Scripture tells us that that’s the beginning of wisdom, and that this knowledge helps us to have good results. If we know and recognize God as the one true and living God, and we follow His commands, we obey Him.
We are making good choices that are going to bring very good results. Now, does that mean immediately a good result? Maybe. Does that mean that even though I’ve made a good decision today, regarding this crisis that I’m in that the crisis is going to be over? Maybe, maybe not. But I can promise you that in the end, when this life is over, the reward of choosing God, and choosing his ways, is beyond what you can comprehend now, beyond what we can even imagine. Scripture tries to tell us what heaven and what the New Jerusalem will look like streets of gold, a sea that is so clear, it’s like looking through crystal. Wow!
But that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what it will be like to be in the presence of the Savior, to be able to walk and talk with our God.
Wow. So let’s look for this beginning an essence of wisdom by choosing to be awe-filled, truly awe-filled by who he is.
And this is just a little challenge for you. As you think about Praise and Gratitude toward God, let’s look at them as two different things. Let’s look at praise as we’re going to praise him for who he is. He is Provider, He is Sustainer. He is the Banner over me, He is Savior, He is Comforter, these things–who He is, and we will give gratitude for what He does.
He has given me salvation. He has given me life. OH! He gave me that breath! All these things that he has done for us, let’s give gratitude, but for who he is. Let us give praise. That’s a challenge. So that’s two challenges for today: one, figure out how to take the time to become so filled and so enamored of Almighty God that your heart is heavy, not heavy, like with grief, but this heaviness of I cannot stand straight up face up in this presence of God. And praise Him. Two is take some time to praise him for who he is, and also give him thanks for what he does.
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