Fear & Wisdom – July 15

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” – Proverbs 9:10a.


What is the fear of the Lord?


We need to clarify what the word fear means here. Proverbs says that this fear is a good healthy fear, one that leads to wisdom. But John also says, “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). They can’t mean the same thing, can they?


The kind of fear that John is referring is the kind of fear that makes us timid, scared and hide. This is the kind of fear that you experienced when the police caught you speeding. But John says that perfect love casts out that fear. It means that if you are in Jesus, you don’t need to fear God this way. God is not after you to punish you for your wrong doing. Perfect love has paid the price of your punishment. Perfect love nails all the consequences of sin at the cross. We live under God’s love now. Yes He will discipline us as a loving father disciplines his children but we do not need to dread in terror in front of him.


However, if you are not in Jesus, you have every reason to fear God in terror. The Bible makes it clear that the day of judgement is coming. God will make sure every wrong doing is paid for. His justice demands it. His wisdom enables it. His power executes it. But God is offering you a shelter to shelter you from the coming fury of fire. That shelter is Jesus Christ. If you trust in him, you don’t have to fear God’s judgement. But this create a new kind of fear – fear of stepping away from the shelter.


This fear is not the fear of God’s fury but a fear that is filled with awe and reverence. We have seen what the shelter does for us and we are in awe for the protection it gives. Now our fear is for us to be away from the shelter. We desperately need the shelter and we are thankful beyond words for it. Jesus has become everything to us that we can’t live without him. This fear is the beginning of wisdom.


How do we apply this fear?


We apply this fear by abiding our lives under the shelter continually. We yield to God’s superior wisdom, we surrender to his overwhelming power and we bow down to his sovereign rule. We realize that without the shelter, all of us are destined for destruction. But because of God’s gracious love for us, Jesus has become our indestructible shelter. And he promises that there is nothing that can separate us from his love – not even death. So why would we step away from the shelter? This kind of fear is healthy and it leads to wisdom. And this wisdom reveals to us that Jesus Christ is the centrepiece of the universe and our existence. Everything that is contrary to revelation of Jesus Christ is no wisdom at all.


“The end of the matter; all have been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13.

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