Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fear...of God or World?

Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 

That scripture says it all. It's wise and a warning both. I don't claim to have all wisdom but I do believe I have a fear of the Lord. If we do not fear God...well, the Word tells us the truth. 

King Solomon was wise. He wrote Proverbs. He wrote Ecclesiastes which I have written occasionally all is vanity and a grasping for the wind...without God. He was not so wise later in life when he seemed to have let the things of God and all that wisdom go along the wayside. But he wizened up!

We are told to fear God. This is reverent fear, not fearful fear! If we can grasp how big our God is, the power, control and love He has, fearing Him is easier. If we do not fear Him the fear of life's circumstances will overcome.

I think we can still be anxious when circumstances first present themselves, although to be honest we are not to be anxious for anything either. But I t's then we go to God and trust in Him. He does have all things under control. He knows what we go through and will face. But if we remember He's in control, that He has our life in His hands, whatever the outcome, if we know Him and reverently fear Him, we have nothing to fear...even death. 

How many fear death? It's because they do not know what lies ahead. Even if they believe heaven is theirs, they will fear death. But not all go to heaven. Not even those supposed to be good...claimed by family, friends, even selves. We need a relationship, wisdom, knowledge and reverent fear of God for that to happen. Nothing we can do on our works, no thinking we're better than the next guy. We must take our focus off ourselves and put it squarely on God. 

Days are coming where some (in the world) may begin to fear. We don't know if/when the financial market might drop, jobs will be lost, illness comes, deaths occur, terrorism strikes or life's situations become too great. But we, as believers, are called not to fear. If we do not fear Him it might said of us: He [Jesus] was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. (‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭10‬)  Here the word know means: to come to know, get a knowledge of; Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. It means intimate knowledge of Him (and I'm not speaking something kinky). Not head knowledge but of the heart. It must come from the heart. And just to make it very clear, this is knowing Jesus, receiving Him as Lord and Savior, confessing our sins to Him, trusting in Him and believing He will forgive...not one of those points but all. 

Our pastor was saying the other day that most of those who have come into this relationship, this knowledge, know it happened. The Holy Spirit of God caused a change to take place in hearts, minds, spirits. We can't explain it very well other than to say we know that we know that we know something occurred that changed us. Do you know that? 

If we do not have the fear of the Lord, we have fear of the world. There are plenty of scriptures that show us examples of this. Here are just two. Perfect love casts out fear (1John 4:18)...I used to think I needed that perfect love for God; it's not about me but about a God, Jesus, whose love is the only perfect love. If we know We are not to fear he (or what) who can kill the body because if we know Jesus he cannot kill our soul! (Matthew 10:28) It's all about knowing Jesus. If we have no fear of God, we are in sin. Ouch.

Solomon later in life once again understood the value of fearing and knowing God above all else. He wrote the difficult words of Ecclesiastes after having strayed from God and realizing his mistake. All the riches of the world, accomplishments, were nothing apart from God. Job was another man who understood this fear of the Lord and exercised it when he lost all he had and maintained trust in his God. They both had the same conclusion. Know the Lord, fear Him, know that He is to be our all in all. Wise words. 

“From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the air. God understands its way, and He knows its place. And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.’” (‭Job‬ ‭28‬:‭20-21,23,28‬)
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭12‬:‭13‬)

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