April 5 – Fear – Fear of God

Read Proverbs 1:7

Ultimate truth is a concept that has tantalized and eluded deep thinkers for ages.  We even see this quest for truth evident in Jesus’ conversation with Pontius Pilate.  Jesus tells Pilate:

“…For this purpose, I was born…to bear witness to the truth.”

Pilate responds smugly, “What is truth?” ULTIMATE knowledge and wisdom begins and ends with the God of Israel as the founder, owner, creator and distributor of ultimate truth. This is part of what Proverbs 1:7 is telling us this morning.

Let’s start by establishing a proper understanding of “fear” of the Lord in the Proverbs context.  In America, we almost always associate ‘fear’ with being scared. Imagine the fear associated with jumping in the ocean and seeing a shark fin moving towards you.  Or the fear of what might result from an impending confrontation.  

In Proverbs, fear is translated from the Hebrew word “yirah”, a noun that has two possible meanings: it could mean literal fear or terror, or it could mean religious piety (the quality of being devoted to something) or reverence (ultimate respect) of something holy.  Solomon most assuredly meant the latter, and this is an important distinction to make.  Although being in the immediate presence of the Lord would most assuredly inspire legitimate terror or fear due to an immediate conviction of our own sin before Him, in this case, we need to think of “fear of the Lord” as being in awe of Him, devoted to Him, and reverent of His statutes and holiness.  

We have more access to useless knowledge (I mean, have you ever watched Jeopardy?) that humankind has ever had before.  It was estimated by BBC’s “Science Focus” that Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft hold 1.2 million terabytes of information.  Our brains could never hold all of the information stored on just those four platforms alone.  So, we must prioritize certain knowledge.  We are necessarily going to prioritize information that we need to live, work, and enjoy our lives.  However, if “Fear of the Lord” is the beginning of knowledge, what knowledge should we be prioritizing?   

Wisdom can also be folly if pursued wrongly; just look for the millions of “self-help” books available for anything that ails you!  The world tells us to pursue wisdom from Susie Says-a-Lot or Sammy Smarter-Than-You. However, scripture (Col. 2:3) tells us that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are hidden in Christ. 

ALL means ALL.

Does God place people in our lives that we should use for wise council?  Absolutely! Proverbs is telling us, though, that the God of the Universe is FOUNDATIONAL for ultimate wisdom. 

Go to Him first.  

Let’s pursue godly knowledge!  Let’s READ our Bibles and ask for help to understand it better!  If the wisdom you gain seems hard to apply, you’re probably on the right track!  Be intentional about putting into practice any godly wisdom you gain through your journey and seek out accountability partners in your life that will help to hold you to God’s standards.  

Craig French

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