Sunday, April 17, 2011

Proverbs 9:10

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

What do you fear?  Are you afraid of losing your job and therefore your ability to provide for your family?  Are you afraid of a health crisis for you or someone that you love?  Are you about to embark on a new venture, perhaps a new job or career and as a result you are afraid of how you will perform or fit in with the new culture around you?  Are you afraid of getting older and closer to death?  Are you afraid of the direction that our nation is headed?  Fear is about respect or awe for something that you know to be greater and more powerful than you. The only thing that helps to combat our fears is when we are comforted by someone or something that we know is greater and more powerful than the object of our fear.  Remember when you were a child and had a fear of the dark.  Perhaps your fears were multiplied when you would hear thunder or see lightening in the middle of the night.  You may have cried for your parents or ran into their room.  Once you were in the presence of your parents your fear subsided because you were comforted in knowing that they would never let anything bad happen to you.  In this Proverb, King Solomon is teaching son Rehoboam about wisdom.  Wisdom is skill for living which is the result of gaining and then applying understanding.  The starting point for wisdom is the fear of the Lord.  We are commanded to fear the Lord because He is the sovereign creator of the universe and there is nothing over which He does not exercise His dominion for His good pleasure.  He is both omniscient (all knowing) and omnipotent (all powerful) and therefore the only legitimate target for our respect and awe.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom because it is the recognition of where wisdom and power originate.  Like the comfort of our parents arms overwhelmed our fear of the dark when we were children, the comfort of the Lord should overwhelm anything which we fear in our lives.

Reflect for a moment on Peter’s experience of getting out of the boat and walking on the water to Jesus in Matthew 14:29-31.  When the disciples saw a man walking on the water they were afraid and thought He was a ghost.  Jesus spoke to them, identifying Himself, and told them not to be afraid.  Peter doubted and asked Jesus to prove that it was Him by commanding him to walk on the water toward Him.  Peter then got out of the boat and started walking on the water toward Jesus but when the wind kicked up he began to fear and started to sink, he then cried out to the Lord and Jesus saved him.  We tend to beat up on Peter for his lack of faith but the reality is that his experience of walking on water defied the basis laws of nature.  What we should learn from Peter’s experience is that our fears should be trumped by our comfort in the provision of God.  The more that our fear (awe or respect) of God overwhelms our fear of anything else in our life the more we are ready to acquire understanding which leads to wisdom when applied in our lives.  Isaiah 41:10 says: “‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  The Lord is our comforter and will never leave our side. We are to fear Him and Him alone.

Dwell on what you know to be true about God.  Remember, God spoke the universe into existence.  He created “ex-nihilo” (out of nothing).  Everthing that exists was created by God and is subject to His omniscience and omnipotence.  Think about every challenge in your life in light of your relationship with God.  Remember that your comforter will never leave or foresake you.  God does not put challenges in our lives to break us but to build us up.  James 1:2-3 says “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance”.  Be honest with yourself and recognize what your fears are.  Engage in prayer for these things and be comforted by what you know to be true about God and His love for you.  Let the fear of the Lord govern your thoughts throughout your day!

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