“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.”
The fear of the Lord.
This statement was so hard for me to grasp, and even now in some moments my mind immediately recoils from the word fear.
I fought fear for years. Oftentimes I still find fear lurking behind the door. Thankfully I have over three-hundred scriptures to remind me (and it) that it has no place in my vocabulary.
But then… explain to me the phrase the “fear of the Lord.”
Recently I was faced with an interesting question- you know one of those questions that may be in the back of your head but its not important enough for you to disturb because you cringe at what unpacking and sorting it out may entail.
The discussion- who God is, or more specifically what God is;
Answer: Good, kind and love.
As I weighed these answers in my mind, other verses flickered through my mind.
God is good, God is kind and God is loving. He is steadfast and certain.
God is also just, holy and jealous.
He wants to be our number one, because we are His number one. No good thing comes to us apart from Him and yet- we are so prone to giving the credit to someone or something else.
The education, the title, the position, the clothes, the timing…
We think we know what’s best, all the while He’s trying to bring us towards His better.
The world pulls at us, offering gods with various faces. It calls us to pursue happiness and fulfillment through greed and self-satisfaction.
And just as we begin to realize that “god” is really not all that good… it throws another one in our face that just might be the missing link to what we’re looking for.
Of course God’s love which is complete and unflinching is jealous as He watches us get used and abused by the false gods of this world.
That is why he sent His only begotten son. Because He is holy. He is just. And he cannot compromise such perfect justice, for He cannot lie or change all that He is. But He is also love.
And love found a way.
Jesus posted the bail, became our lawyer and cleared all charges. All we have to do is accept His invitation. Tragically, many of us chose to stay in the cell.
Fear of the Lord.
A good, kind and loving God. A just, holy and jealous God.
“So,” my friend asked, “you fear being punished by God? Being judged?” in reference to my personal positions, actions or lack there of.
The word slipped truthfully as I shook my head.
As I sat there and thought about sin; what I’ve done, what I didn’t do and what I would or would not do ever again… as I thought about repentance and the way my heart was convicted whenever I erred in one direction or another… as I thought about my loving Triune God… as the name Jesus echoed throughout my being- my heart swelling with joy at the thought of his name…
No, I don’t fear being punished or being judged by God.
No, I don’t fear being hurt by God.
I fear hurting God.
As you read through the dozens of verses that speak of the fear of the Lord you will notice that the attributes of the fear of the Lord lead to wisdom, protection and joy.
Every single one.
Overall I was a pretty good kid, if I can say so myself.
Was it because I hadn’t had the opportunity to misbehave? No.
Was it because I am absolutely perfect in every way? Lord knows, no, not at all. (Pretty sure I just heard a heavenly chuckle and an angel almost spit out their coffee sort of reaction.)
It was because I loved my parents, I still love my parents, and few things would have been more painful for me than to disappoint them, few things would have caused me more fear or dread. I love(d) them so much.
I love my Heavenly Father. I love my Savior. I love the Holy Spirit who indwells in me, knowing that I am not always the most hospitable vessel.
I do not try and follow the statues and read the verses because I am afraid of punishment.
I do it from a love so deep it cuts my heart to see the hurt in Their eyes when I betray their trust.
Every sin driving the nail in further.
The nail scarred hands helping me back up and carrying me whenever I’ve slipped so far.
Nail scarred hands reaching out and embracing me.
No, I do not fear what God would do. God is holy, just, good, kind, jealous and love.
No, I fear what I might do, what pain I might cause.
I wouldn’t purposefully hurt a loved one. Many of you probably agree.
So the question then is- why would we purposefully hurt the God who loves us so perfectly? Why does He seem to end up on just the other side of the line?
The fear of the Lord to me is grounded in our love for the Lord- rooted in His love for us. For our Lord is one “who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
So, take heart friends and live free of fear, remembering, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment prayer requests and praise reports below. You are forever in our thoughts and prayers.
Stay tuned for some exciting 2020 news including a continuation of defining our “whys” and upcoming monthly giveaways to the credit of some of my very talented friends!! Also an inside look into what I have been up to this past Christmas break.