Earlier this week I had begun a new journey through the book of Proverbs. Such a powerful book, I have learned or possibly re-learned so much that I hardly know where to begin.
In a previous journey through the Bible I had become very impressed with King Solomon's request, and God's response, for wisdom (1 Kings chapter 3) that I began asking God for wisdom, don't know as I have received much of it yet but I do see some improvement in my decisions.
Proverbs opens with an exhortation that is often quoted but I think I have missed the real meaning of it;
Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
When I looked up the Hebrew word that was translated as fear in this passage I realized that indeed I did not understand this verse or how to apply it into my life.
Fear has been a constant companion of mine since early childhood, now as an adult and a Christian I understand that that fear in it's negative sense is most destructive, but then anything God has given us as an instinct can and often is perverted to create great harm in our lives.
Fear does have a positive side and until now I could not see it since I had been fighting so hard to root it out and give it to God. God in His infinite wisdom gave us fear for our own protection, after all, we are the most vulnerable to physical harm of all the creatures God had created so fear was necessary to protect our fragile life from the threats of this world. Problem is in some of us we tend to use that precious gift to be afraid of all the wrong things.
In a support group I belong to someone had defined fear using an acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real this so completely describes the misuse of fear that it does not need any explanation and would detract from where I want to go today.
When I have heard the Proverb quoted above preached on, I had heard the preachers say that the fear really means respect and reverence and while that is not wrong, it weakens what God wants me to take from this passage. He does want me to fear Him, in the same sense that as a small boy I feared my father, I would never plan to do something against the rules because I feared what Dad would do when (not if) I got caught. Since Liberal politics has invaded our homes we are seeing less and less of this kind of fear in our young people hence we are seeing the decline of respect for authority, but that's another rabbit trail I do not wish to go down today, but it does relate.
If I do not fear what God will do when I get caught doing something wrong, meaning sin, then I am more likely to sin. Thus it is the begging of wisdom since wisdom is really no more than the ability to make right choices. It is amazing how fear can also be the undoing of wisdom and this is the perversion; when fear causes me to make the wrong choices it is out of it's natural bounds and in my case it is so because of pride.
Pride, that evil little twist in my character that says I am always right and I do not need you or God, the very core of self-centeredness, the sin that got Lucifer thrown out of heaven.
I was at a meeting of this support group I belong to and the speaker suggested as a topic of discussion "why we do not use the tools" ( a set of practical suggestions that have been formalized to help between meetings). All of the following speakers failed to directly respond to this question, my response had I spoke would have been that my pride keeps me from using those tools, it kicks up the emotion of fear that I might have to share responsibility for the improvement in my life with others or with God. God uses other people to help us see through our own deceptions, to keep us humble.
False fear is the undoing of wisdom, but true, God given fear, is the begging of Wisdom so which will you live in today?
May God strengthen us to choose to live in Wisdom today and every day. Amen.
Doing an inventory of our day is one tool for keeping fear and pride in check and submitted to God, I have written a book called "Ten Commandments A guide to Holiness" that addresses how to do this. This book is free for the download as a PDF file, go to the home page of this blog and get yours now.
For those of you who have been waiting for the new book "Yahweh, The God Who Speaks and How to Hear Him", I decided it is finished and will be sending it to the printer today, It should be ready for purchase next week, (this one will not be free).