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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fear of the Lord

Have you ever thought about fearing the Lord? It can seem like an impossible dichotomy - when we think of loving and serving, but fearing at the same time.

Yet the mandate is clear. The Bible is replete with specific instructions to fear the Lord, cherish fear of the Lord, etc. How then should we understand it?

Psalm 111:10 says that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; ..." Likewise, Proverbs 1:7 tells us that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, ..." I don't know about you, but wisdom and knowledge are definitely two things I'd like to be at the beginning of! So what, then, are we to make of this thing called "fear of the Lord?"

To be sure, God is merciful. He is loving. He is forgiving. He is genuinely overjoyed to see us and hear from us. He is generous, gracious, and eager to give us His unmerited favor. But the fear that He demands of us isn't what most of us would expect.

To fear the Lord is simply to recognize God for who He is. When we regard God correctly, we gain a clearer view of ourselves - sinful and weak. When we are in that position - seeing God and ourselves accurately, we will fall at His feet in humble respect. That is fear of the Lord. No more. No less.

Only when we are in that position will He begin to show us the way. It is truly the beginning of wisdom and understanding.

So if you want to acquire this thing called "fear of the Lord," get focused on God. Get really acquainted. Study His nature and character. Learn to anticipate His decisions. Understand His thinking. Know what He values ... and despises.

If fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, then knowing God is the beginning of fear of the Lord.

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