Yesterday, I had an epiphany.
The Hunk and I have a decorative tile in our bathroom on which we can write with a dry erase marker. Sometimes we write silly things to one another; but recently we started writing sweet notes to each other. I was thoughtfully putting together a short, sweet note in my head when it happened.
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve read about the fear of the Lord in God’s word. Growing up, everyone in the church talked about fearing the Lord. I didn’t understand.
Why would I fear Him? I love Him! Why would I be afraid when I know He’ll take care of me?
I mean… this doesn’t make any sense. Doesn’t fear mean, like, being afraid? How can being afraid of someone yield good results–good relationship?
Proverbs talks about this a lot. A. Lot.
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. –Proverbs 14.27
The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short. –Proverbs 10.27
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. –Proverbs 1.7
In the context of these verses, this concept made no sense to me.
Until yesterday afternoon, that is.
In the midst of mentally writing the note, I decided that I’d tell The Hunk that he’s God-fearing. And then it hit me. A God-fearing person puts God above him/herself. This means that the person intentionally yields to God’s laws and expectations for our lives. This doesn’t mean the person is perfect. Um, zero of us are.
In light of this epiphany, a lot of other verses make sense.
The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. –Proverbs 8.13
When God’s grace, law, and love are superior in our lives, we hate all evil. We’d hate pride and arrogance. We’d hate it when people sin and speak in favor of evil.
The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. –Proverbs 15.33
When we trust God above the world, we value the wisdom in His word. And we realize our place in this world is not to be its God, but to worship God and live rightly.
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life –Proverbs 22.4
When combined with humility, fearing the Lord is so valuable in the Christian life. When we fear God, we have much fuller and richer lives in Christ.
This is not to say that fearing the Lord is easy. I’d so much rather be my own boss. I’d rather decide what is moral. I’d rather decide when I’ll give my money away and I’d rather love myself more than others. And I’d like for people to think I am the reason I am great when I am great. And I’d love to blame others when I make mistakes. It would be awesome. Except, it wouldn’t solve anything.
When I yield to God, life is better in the long run.
When I let God be the boss, better decisions are made.
When I follow God’s morals, I am safer, more secure, and, well, not in jail.
When I give of my money to my church or those in need, I am glad to worship God with what He has given me.
When I love others, they are happy and I know that God has used me.
When I realize that God is the source of all my blessings, skills, and joy, I can go to Him to refill me and heal me when I am inept or a miserable failure.
And when I make mistakes, I can go to Jesus for forgiveness, healing, and direction.
Fearing God solves problems.
How do you know you fear the Lord?