“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Whenever I see the word fear, I think most of us immediately jump to the idea of the gut-wrenching, mind polluting fear that keeps us from completing or doing the tasks or work we have set forward to do. However that is nothing like the spiritual fear referred to multiple times in the Bible.
Many times, I lump worldly fear with worldly stress. Recently, I watched a Ted Talk (surprise I like Ted Talks) that described the health benefits of having the correct attitude toward stress. After watching this I thought, “If there are all of these benefits to having a healthy attitude toward stress, I bet the same principle applies to fear.”
In other words, the way we think about fear makes all the difference in the world. I think that a lot of us have this notion that to fear God we are imagining this terrible, all powerful God who is waiting in anticipation for us to mess up so He can punish us for it. At the same time, how can we possibly view that God as loving? Yet the Bible tells us that God is love.
Could it be a contradiction?
Not at all.
The problem is our mindset. When I attended school in the Bible belt at a school that was strictly southern Baptist, I found that the above view of God is more prevalent. However, if I were to ask someone in the Eastern or Western area of the US, (which I have) they vehemently disagree with this view of God. Instead, they all would hold to the belief that God is infinitely loving, and in some cases they disagree that God would pass judgement on the world at all.
Now, I may end up stepping on some toes here, but that’s ok. If you disagree or believe in one of the two mindsets I mentioned above, feel free to comment and I would love to talk to you. In either case, I believe both of the previous mindsets are fundamentally flawed. One denies a necessary part of God’s unchanging nature. God is perfect, without flaw.
Deuteronomy 32:4: “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.”
Matthew 5:48: “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Both the old and the new Testament attest to God’s perfection, but why is that important?
Basically this goes to show that, if God is perfect and Holy, which is true if you believe in the Bible, God cannot be in the presence of sin. This means that God must have justice or simply remove sin from Himself.
Psalm 25:8: “God is fair and just; He corrects the misdirected, Sends them in the right direction.”
But if God must not have sin in His presence, how can He love? More importantly, how would we know?
That answer is simple. Answerable also by possibly the most popular verse in the Bible.
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The contradiction lies in what part of God’s nature we focus on, when really one cannot exist without the other. The way we process all of this is similar to how think about fear and stress. We observe fear, we can even be paralyzed with it. But what about a healthy fear? The Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
This is a poem written by a friend of mine, Brianne Nix.
We are born to this world innocent
We trust who holds us
Through Him we are sent.
As we grow, we doubt
We fall to fly
We catch and still fumble about
Growing , still more, we learn
We trust ourselves as we hurt
We prevent ourselves from further burn
Alone, we realize we fall much
We refine, re-gather, regroup
In health, we rely on each other’s touch
He was born to us
He grew in wisdom and strength
He died to spread God’s glorious grace
It’s clockwork that’s planned
As we grow through our lives
As we fall we fall
To the true hand of time.
“Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
Again the word fear. The Bible uses it to praise the most faithful Christians. The truth is the Lord is powerful. Worthy of our praise but also worthy of our fear. Just like not all stress hurts us, not all fear is bad. It is not bad to fear the Lord, but good, the beginning of wisdom.
Be blessed today.