Friday, September 15, 2006

Elements of Wisdom - The Fear of the Lord

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Prov. 1:7)

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." (Pro. 9:10)

The word fear carries the ideas of terror, awe and reverence. In regards to God and the things of God our attitude must be that of reverence. There is very little fear of the Lord nowadays. Many of our young people seem to lack a healthy fear of the Lord. Sometimes even jokes get carried away, thus turning into levity. Some people treat church as though it is nothing but a social club. Whatever happened to the fear of the Lord? Maybe perhaps this is why our day and age is so doctrinally insipid. In looking at the book of Proverbs we find some very practical lessons about the fear of the LORD.

1. The Fear of the LORD is foundational. (9:10) - It is the 'beginning' or the commencement of both knowledge and wisdom. Part of the Old Testament Gospel includes 'the fear of the LORD.' When you realize who God is, and how holy He is, and that He has a perfect hatred of sin (i.e. Prov. 6:16), and that He will punish sin, then the natural tendency in our hearts is to fear God. Because 'the fear of the LORD" is part of the OT Gospel, it is still part of our Gospel today. People need to repent of their sin and selfish ways. Understanding the 'fear of the LORD' is really a good reason to get saved. True genuine salvation stems from a healthy reverential fear of displeasing a Holy God. It is no wonder than when we read of men coming in contact with God (like Isaiah, Peter and John), we read of them falling down in awe or fear. God is infinitely beyond us, and we need to develop a fear of the Lord.

2. The Fear of the LORD is a choice. (1:29) We can choose to humbly obey the Lord, or we could ignore God also. In fact in 2:5 Wisdom is gained by searching for her. We must actively pursue to fear God in all of our decision making process. Remember God is not mocked.

3. The Fear of the LORD is the antithesis to evil. (8:13; 16:6) When we fear God, we stay away from sin to avoid His displeasure. One of the best lessons we could ever teach another fellow believer is to fear God, because long after we are gone, if they genuinely have a fear of God, they will 'depart from evil.'

4. The Fear of the LORD provides many blessings.
a. It prolongeth days - 10:27 - Generally this is true, but in view of eternity, only those who truly fear the Lord will prolong their days, because they will forever be with the Lord. (see also 14:27; 19:23)
b. It provides strong confidence - 14:26
c. It provides satisfaction - 19:23b (see also 23:17)
d. It provides riches, honor, and life - 22:4 - and if not in this world, then certainly in the world to come. (see also 15:16)

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