"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -Emerson

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A new blog series...

I’ve decided to do a “series” of blogs this week. I am not quite sure why, perhaps namely for my own personal edification, but hopefully, you can gain something as well. I’ve been thinking about some “Christian concepts” lately. Some that I myself have at one time or another wondered exactly what does that mean? Sometimes Christians throw around a few “buzz” words and we all shake our head in agreement without truly knowing what we are talking about.

So, this week, I am challenging myself more than anything, to find out exactly what we are talking about. The four ideas we are going to explore are:

(1) The Fear of God
(2) Grace
(3) Mercy
(4) Providence

I hope you will join me and do some of your own “homework” in discovering what ideas are you constantly hearing, yet don’t know the meaning of. There is a good chance that these blogs will be too long for your typical glimpse on your blog roll, but hopefully, some of you can find something to glean!
The first concept I want to explore is the fear of God. For the longest time, I thought I was supposed to be afraid of the Lord. And to some degree, I was. I thought He was just some cosmic killjoy, who could smite entire nations, and was looking to catch me doing wrong so He could zap me with his scepter. But, this is the furthest from the truth of who God is and the true meaning of fearing Him.

According my study Bible commentary, the term fear of God is an important one in the books known as “wisdom literature”, specifically from the book of Job all the way through Song of Songs. Wisdom literature teaches right living and how to truly commune with God in all circumstances. The words fear of God is defined as, “to have respect and reverence for God and to be in awe of his majesty and power.” (Life Application Study Bible)

Where do we see His majesty and power, in order to stand in awe of it? According to His word, it can be found in two places: 1.) nature, His creation and the world around us (see Psalm 19), 2.) in the stories of His people, the Bible. Think about this idea for a moment. We are to stand in reverence and awe of Him. If you truly want to do that as He commands, you got to go outside and see the amazing beauty He created and you have to get into His word to discover instance after instance of God proving His strength and power. You’ve probably experienced this sense of wonderment: on a vacation in the Colorado Rockies, on the white sand beaches of exotic locales, any place where the scenery literally takes your breath away and points you to the fact that something bigger than all of us, created this place. Those are moments of truly fearing God.

The thing I’ve struggled with in understanding this concept and the others we will look at this week, is how do we put into action the commands we are given? I mean, what do I need to do to truly fear God? Ok, so I’ve learned I can look at nature and be amazed by the beauty it possesses. I can look in His word and find examples of miracles, His hand, and things that only the God of the universe can do. But, it seems, there has to be more, some sort of action I need to take in addition to those things.

The Bible often equates fear of the Lord with one thing we all struggle with from time to time, obedience. This is such an important step in our walk. We are saved by faith alone, but if we truly want to show our heart and our love towards our God, we have to be obedient to His word.

To truly fear God means to be obedient in our words and actions matching the precepts He has given us:

“ Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” -Psalm 34:11-14 (NIV)

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV)

In order to truly fear God, we must obey Him, a logical question that might follow in our selfish little minds is: what do I get out of it? Come on, don’t deny it, you know you thought the same thing as me. The truth is that SO much is to be gained from a sincere fear of the Lord. Let me show you. If you can, in your daily renewal, take up again the desire to show true reverence and awe towards your God, you can find things in life, our broken minds and hearts didn’t think existed. You see the answer to many a question is simply to fear God.

Q: How do I become content in life, untouched by trouble?
A: Fear God

“The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” –Proverbs 19:23

Q: How do I keep from doing such evil and sinful things that I regret?
A: Fear God

“Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.” – Proverbs 16:6

“Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."- Exodus 20:20

Q: How do I gain wealth and honor and a long “life”?
A: Fear God

“Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.” –
Proverbs 22:4

Q: How do I gain knowledge, wisdom, and understanding in my beliefs?
A: Fear God

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”- Psalm 111:10

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”- Proverbs 1:7

“He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.”- Isaiah 33:6

I have heard the words fear of God since I was a child, but never before did I know its true meaning. Never before did I know how important this idea is to those who proclaim to know Christ. Never before did I know that if I want to live the limited moments I have on this earth untouched by circumstances, contented in all situations, wealthy, honored, and with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, I needed to learn the true meaning of fearing Him. I need to stand in reverence and awe of His creation, His works, and to show Him my stance through my obedience to His word. This is the challenge of our life. This is the one thing I am to do every day, above all other things on my to do list. I struggle daily with this, but I know by looking out my window and in my Bible, there is a God that can help me with anything I face.

Here’s to learning a new kind of fear…

Until next time,

Author’s Note: sorry for the “essay” like quality today…I’ll try to make the other entries less essay-ish and more fun J.

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