Fearing God is the safest disposition that you can possess, it is the hyperbaric oxygen chamber in which you breathe His love.
Beginning of Wisdom
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Fearing the Lord is the gate that opens to a lifelong journey of wisdom.
Knowing God is fundamentally what it means to know at all. He is the ultimate object to be acquired in our knowledge, and He is the homeostasis that brings coherence to all that we know life to be.
The origin of wisdom is rooted in an accurate recognition and understanding of God. And the origin of understanding is rooted in an accurate, sober, appreciation of the holiness of God. Ultimate wisdom and ultimate understanding are hidden in God. The wisdom of the world may give the illusion that it is deep and profound, but the depth of its wisdom vault is immeasurably less vast than the vault of wisdom hidden in Christ our God. For us, the fullness of God is found in Christ. He is unsearchable, and yet, He must be searched.
Why Fear? What does it mean to fear the Lord?
This verse uses the word yir’ah, which means to be terrified at the character of God with reverence.
This fear is the portal through which the vault is opened, the mine is plunged, and the quarry excavated to discover the riches of God. You are most vulnerable when the holiness of God brings you into the appropriate response of being afraid. And you are best positioned in that place to receive the full, affirming, undeserved love of God simultaneously.
The word “Yir’ah” connotes that there is an object that is intrinsically awesome and terrifying, and objectively causes fear. God is so worthy of fear, that those who actually see Him all have the same response – fear.
Fear is what we intrinsically feel in His presence, but it is not what He gives us in His presence.
Fear causes us to approach rightly, and qualifies us to receive generously.
The depth of our wisdom is dependent upon the measure to which we explore the vastness of the character of this God.
Fearing God is the floodgate that introduces us to the exploding life that is in God.
We do not initiate contact with God’s goodness when we fear Him, but rather, His goodness envelopes us and consumes us like a flood as the floodgates open. Stand there, Bride. Stand there.
I love the progression of Psalm 34:1-9 and I think it gives us the correct paradigm for understanding Proverbs 9:10.
David starts out in the first three verses exalting the name of God –
“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”(1)
“My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.”(2)
The God-centeredness of a boasting soul is evidence that a soul has found a magnificent God that has drawn its attention away from lesser things.
Humility comes in the presence of God. It postures us to hear and in our hearing, we receive gladness.
“Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!”(3)
Humble gladness transitions well into magnifying the Lord, and into the exploding joy of inviting others into this holy action.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”(4)
Here’s what we know;
In the disposition of blessing the Lord, praising Him, boasting in Him, humbly hearing Him and receiving gladness, and magnifying Him with others, upon seeking Him…
…And as He humbles Himself in grace to answer us, He delivers us from all our fears.
When God brings Himself into our focus He simultaneously shatters our idols, and makes our souls overflow with gladness as we see Him exalted.
As God brings us into a place of fearing Him, our focus shifts to seeing Him alone, and as we see Him it becomes evident that He has prominent sway on our attention and emotions. No fear of Isis can carry your heart into tumult when a mighty God has demanded and captured your attention. No fear of job loss can carry your heart into distress when God has made Himself your prominent focus. While these realities may be present, in God’s presence we find the ultimate security. We rise above, as our focus shifts to that which is above.
Our heart goes where our eyes go, and when our eyes go to God, our hearts land on the highest rock.
Before God shifts our fear, He shifts our focus.
Captured By Fear, Enveloped in Love
“Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”(5)
We begin to look like the thing that we behold, and when we behold Jesus (Jesus is God. I’m shifting my terminology now) we become radiant. And if Jesus won’t shame you for looking like Jesus, than who could possibly shame you?
Apart from Jesus, the Fear of God distances us from God. But in Christ, it draws us in to unity with Him.
The highest place of security, free from fear, is the place of looking upon Jesus, and looking like Jesus – which is birthed in the soil of looking to God as we fear Him.
“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.”(6)
Fear should not keep us from coming to God, but thrust us into crying out to God.
The promise to those who cry out to God is; He will hear us and save us.
Here’s the thing, in these verses we have not seen God abandon those that come to Him. We have only seen God give His people Himself. Often fear can keep us from finding freedom from fear, but if we run to God and His power, then He delivers us from all fears.
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.”(7)
When God moves and causes His people to fear Him, He is moving for the benefit of His people; upon fearing God, we get to know Him.
Isn’t it a curious thing that upon fearing God He delivers us? Delivers us from what? Other things that we could fear.
We fear that which we give our attention to, because we elevate that which we give our attention to.
God has resolved to deliver us from giving emotional precedence to anything other than Him.
God is jealous that you would know what it is to be enveloped in His love. When we fear Him, we find an ocean of love. Our focus leads the emotions of our hearts and the security of our lives. Our fear grows with the level of intimacy that we have with the object of our fear.
We plunge into the revelation of the Character of the thing that we fear.
When we fear God, we plunge into the reality of endless joy and love – because He is the object of our focus and in Him is endless joy and love.
God loves us by making Himself known to us; by causing us to fear Him; and by offering us Himself as the resolve of our fears.
Highest Fear = Highest Fullness
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”(8)
The angel of the Lord has encamped around you, and delivered you from your fears. From this place David summons us to really taste the character of God. He has called us to the highest fear, and once we step in, greatest delight is found.
We fearfully step into the banqueting hall, and upon entering, our eyes light up, and the supper of the Lamb begins. God didn’t reveal Himself to His people to push us away, but to draw us in. The Lord is good, and His goodness is experienced when He causes us to take refuge in Him.
“Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!”(9)
Who would ever say that the person that fears the most has the most? David.
Those who fear Him have no lack because they have Him.
God calls us to fear Him in order that we may have Him.
While fear of worldly things empties you, the only way to be truly filled is by fearing God, because that is how we gain God.
For the joysetbeforeme,