“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
I have heard many Christian’s proclaim that they don’t really fear God because they know that God is a God of love and mercy. I guess what they say is because of their spiritual understanding of God and attribute their attitude to their limited knowledge of God. It is a misunderstanding on our part that God actually desires each of us to fear Him and love him at the same time. The correct understanding of the term of fear is important and is most often overlooked. This is accounted for the misunderstanding of the different cultures, both East and West.
When I was a little boy, I grew up in the love of my parents because they nurtured me and took great pains to see me grow up into adulthood with the proper attitude and demeanor. No doubt there were times I spread my little wings to test the waters, so to speak, just to find out that my parents had authority and above all, power over me. This power was demonstrated when I got out of line in front of them. Usually, it was because I didn’t get my way about something or, just for the sake of pride and arrogance. I praise God today that I didn’t come from an abusive home like so many of us my age did.
In Biblical terms, fear means reverence of or a reverential fear of God. This term doesn’t imply a cowering; face covering, vertical posture, in His presence as most would like to think. It simply means, we have an understanding of who God really is and this can only be acquired by reading of the many Old Testament writings handed down to us. In this respect, this is why the Old Testament is so important to us. In the writings we gain knowledge about God and soon discover His many wonderful attributes. He can be anything He wants to be depending on how we approach Him. It really depends on us and our attitude about Him.
For instance, if I so choose to approach Him out of arrogance and pride such as demonstrated by cursing and taking His name in vain, or totally ignore His presence every day, one would expect God to reprimand me severely and bring instant judgment upon me. But just because God doesn’t act upon my arrogance immediately, one would get the feeling that he or she is in control of their lives and continues to produce this insubordination. Then as time passes by and the event that caused the insubordination is forgotten, Almighty God decides to move against the individual and judgment is administered with great bewilderment. We might ask ourselves, why did God do that to me? Or why has God turned against me? The truth is, God always sees us in any light and fashion. We cannot hide from His all knowing presence. Thus, sometimes our reaping is delayed to the most opportune time as to increase our understanding of God and His infinite wisdom. We don’t understand God; let’s admit it now and forever. His ways are so much higher than our ways He is almost untouchable as is portrayed in the Old Testament. If He seems untouchable, there is a very good reason for His action, despite our misunderstanding on His part.
“For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity. His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.” Psalms 10:3-7
Then there is the opposite side of the coin to where God administers problems, setbacks, and sometimes outright misery upon His children. This scenario presents a real problem for a lot of people. It has caused many a person to turn their back on God and walk right out of His presence forever, or so they imagine. The entire Book of Job reveals a lot of this and how Job dealt with His maker and vice versa. Little do we know, God wants a personal relationship with each of us and thus the many different approaches and events that take place in our lives? Forgive me if it seems I’m trying to explain away the reality of pain, heartache, and most often misery. But it is only because I have experienced these things for myself. It is a fact that bad things happen to good people and in the case of Job, a righteous man of God. But why, we ask? Why does God resort to such drastic measures when all he had to do was just let us know what He wanted from us in the first place?
“And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28
Well, for a fact, Almighty God tried that a long time ago back in the Garden of Eden. If there were ever a couple of people who really had it made, it was definitely Adam and Eve. We all know the story and how they fell from GRACE only to be subject to LAW. This is our entire story in a nutshell. We have all been born with the fallen nature of Adam and Eve and under the LAW when we enter this world and that is the reason God approaches us the way He does. The problem is that we have this preconceived idea that we are innocent and haven’t done anything wrong against God. But little do we know and understand that just being born in this world we are automatically an enemy of God much to our ignorance of this situation. In short, we have to be taught that we are against God, our very maker, at the outset of our lives. Therefore, we learn to fear God first. That is the Law of God.
“Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?” Job 1:9
There is HOPE and there is a remedy for all this anguish. The remedy is Christ Jesus at Calvary. God sent His Son Jesus to rescue each of us out from under the LAW by giving Himself a ransom for us all. King David expresses his gratitude towards God and His mercy while looking towards Calvary by writing this Psalm.
“Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Psalms 2:11-12
“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” Psalms 25:14
That covenant is Jesus and His saving grace that we all are in need of. There are many, many verses in the Bible that substantiate the fact that we must fear God in our lives for our sake and for the sake of others. Yes, for others also. Our belief of fear and trust in the living Jehovah God is transpired to everyone who comes in contact with us. This is so important to understand that many lives and souls depend on just how much we fear and believe God is who He says He is. If we don’t believe, if we don’t fear, how can we expect others to believe what we have in our possession? Our perception of God is very important and will have eternal repercussions upon our lives.
“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”
“Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:5