Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fear of the Lord; The Beginning of Wisdom

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10 NASB)

My Awesome sister Dorothy Moore brought up a question that I have been mulling over for quite a few weeks now and here is how some of our email dialogue went.  I'm pretty impressed with her knowledge and insight about what it means to fear the Lord. Most of these are her thoughts, and my thoughts are at the end. My proverbs prof at CIU used to tell us often that fear in Hebrew has no English counterpart exactly, that it means reserving the most intense emotion for God. it's stronger than awe, according to him it's more visceral/ overwhelming. Believers have a fear of God as that which stands in the uppermost place, to which all that Wisdom will accomplish subordinates itself; that which begins wisdom; Him who is absolutely Holy. And the 'knowledge' here in the Hebrew is meant of lively, practical, operative knowledge (ie, in relationship), which subordinates itself to this All-holy God as the normative pattern. -Franz Delitzsch
And on the other hand "Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-- more than that, who was raised to life-- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us" (Romans 8:34- The only One with authority to condemn us has accepted us and called us friends. "if God justifies, this answers all. He is the judge, and the party offended, and his judgment is according to truth... We have a plea which cannot be overruled. It is by virtue of the death of Christ and our interest in Him, our relation to him, and our union with him, that we are then secured. Divine justice was satisfied by the merit of his death. He is now in heaven to answer all accusations, to put in our plea, and to prosecute it with effect... And is not this abundant matter for comfort?" -Matthew Henry) 'fear' in prov. 9:10 is the Hebrew noun 'yirah' & comes from the verb 'yarah'- "to throw" or "flow out of the gut"...
In response to the above, I agree, completely and furthering the idea Jesus Christ is the same yesterday to day and forever I do really believe that with all my heart, but Jesus coming to this earth and revealing God to us shows us something new of who God is. I came across this quote by Donald Miller in His book "Searching for God Knows What". One of the best books I have ever read by the way. I read it right before Ana was born and with tears I say to you, it has been one of the best preparations that I have ever had for having a child with special needs. It goes...
"If it weren't for Jesus, It would be difficult for me to follow God. When you read the Old Testament now, knowing exactly where the book is going, it is all very easy and simple, but it wouldn't have been around back in the Old Testament, God would have come off as more or less frightening. And I don't think I would have been able to know in my heart that it was the grandness of His nature, not the ease of his anger, that produced the fear."
The question is what produces fear? Because I think I have always understood the fear of the Lord as real fear...but what do we fear... Everything about Him the 'grandness of His nature' not the 'ease of His anger'. We fear his goodness, grace, favor, wrath, loving-kindness, power, peace, sovereignty, and all other things that also make Him God. We must fear and love it all! We cannot leave anything out of the reverent fear and awe that we have for Christ and the Father Who has given Him (Jesus) every command. I'll give you a for instance. I had never before though of Jesus as Lord of my sexuality. i.e. I did not fear him in this area. I came across Hebrews 13:4 in preparation for a marriage series that I have been doing. "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." I wondered what 'undefiled' meant so I looked it up in Kittle (The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament). In the general sense it means clean from sexual sins, but the word is also used in the NT for moral purity of our heavenly inheritance, and of the perfect purity of the perfect high priest Christ. Talk about awkward. If I keep my marriage bed undefiled it comes into the same category of the undefilement that our High Priest also enjoys in His Heavenly Inheritance! WOAH! This will make me fear Him as I ought, and thus fear his judgment as this passage says. Maybe we ought to bring more fear and reverent Awe into every area of our lives; maybe then Jesus could become Lord of every corner and pocket of our lives! Just saying...
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