For some time now I’ve been digesting this verse:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. Psalm 111:10
I wrote it on the chalkboard in my kitchen about a month ago. I like to do that when a verse sticks in my mind. I put it up on the board and then my understanding starts to grow and the Lord brings things from all corners of my life to show me a little more of who He is and how His word applies to life. This one little verse is a big one. There are some people who don’t want to see God in this light. They only want to focus on the loving and graceful God, not the fearsome God who has the power to cast into hell. I think by glossing over the command to fear God, we are not acknowledging the truth of who He is or the truth of who we are in relation to Him. This makes it really easy for us to go on with our lives arm and arm with our imagined BFF and never truly turn from our sin and turn to our holy God in repentance. This weak, watery message also makes it an easy message to reject when our real human lives speak of something deeper, darker, and much more dangerous.
“We must continually focus and firmly place our faith in Jesus Christ— not a “prayer meeting” Jesus Christ, or a “book” Jesus Christ, but the New Testament Jesus Christ, who is God Incarnate, and who ought to strike us dead at His feet.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest
This quote from O.C. is more like it. Fear God? Yes. The real, pee your pants, lose your breath, dissolve into dust in the face of His pure light kind of fear! But not the fear that leads to despair. It’s the fear of a holy and good God. The creator of the universe and the one that holds your very existence in His hand. If we don’t acknowledge with fear our sinfulness and His pure holiness than the gospel has no power for us or for anyone else watching or listening to us. In the “west” we don’t always understand a lot about the master/servant relationship, but this is the relationship of the believer to Christ. We don’t come to Christ and decide we are going to be friends. He extends Himself in friendship to us once we are properly related to Him. He decides, not us. He leads, we follow. He speaks, we listen. We assume a posture of supplication. Flat on our faces. It’s after His right hand reaches down to touch us that we are able to stand up. If we can truly absorb this into our hearts, it is the beginning of wisdom. Who could puff themselves up into a prideful, self-righteous state of mind? Who could advocate for their right to their life the way they want it, if the fear of God is engraved on our hearts? How can we not be moved to love and serve our fellow humans, who suffer from the same affliction of sin as we do? If we are rooted down to the earth with fear of our Lord, it is the firm foundation for every move the body of Christ makes.
“Take a look at some of the things that cause despair. There is despair which has no delight, no limits whatsoever, and no hope of anything brighter. But the delight of despair comes when “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells . . .” (Romans 7:18). I delight in knowing that there is something in me which must fall prostrate before God when He reveals Himself to me, and also in knowing that if I am ever to be raised up it must be by the hand of God. God can do nothing for me until I recognize the limits of what is humanly possible, allowing Him to do the impossible.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest
This past Sunday, our Pastor talked about the summary of Ecclesiastes.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all. Ecclesiastes 12:13
That was Solomon’s summary of all the wisdom and experience he had in his life. The only thing that wasn’t vanity, fear God and obey Him. This little book of Ecclesiastes is one of my favorites. If you’re human and living in this world, this book is chock full of good healthy perspective.
This message has the power to transform me. I can see relationships and priorities shifting into more graceful patterns as I carry this verse around in my heart and mind. When I am conscious of Him in this way, my natural strength goes out of me and the only strength available is from Him. I can shut Him out and choose to muscle my way through situations and relationships, but I always come up short (ie. stressed, angry, arrogant, empty). So…that’s what has been on my mind lately. I am going to try to lighten things up a bit here ( just a little bit) and post more regularly. Do you like the pics? Took them this morning. The purpose in starting this blog was to document God’s Word as the foundation of my life. My everyday, wonderful, challenging, grace-filling, imperfect life. So, I hope to steer things back in that direction. Hope you enjoy!