Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
Praise him forever!
Psalm 111:10, NLT*
Fear of the Lord is one of those things I’m still trying to understand, and I’m sure that people who try to scare others into the Kingdom of Heaven have missed the point.
But the Psalmist says fear of God is the basis for wisdom.
People explain it as “reverence for the Lord” and that helps a bit. Others say, “fear God or fear everything else.” That makes it a bit clearer.
Reading the book of Matthew in the New Living Translation, I feel like the proverbial penny has dropped. In Matthew 9 we have the story of Jesus saying to a paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven. Get up, pick up your bed and go home.”
Look at the crowd’s response:
Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And they praised God for sending a man with such great authority. (Matthew 9:8, NLT*)
Picture yourself in the crowd. I’d be afraid, wouldn’t you? This is power beyond our imagining. This is the God who is good, but not safe.
This is the God who is bigger than whatever situation threatens to paralyze me with fear. He doesn’t guarantee to provide a miraculous way out, but He does promise to be with me. And with Him in trouble is better than on my own in a safer place.
Holy and mighty God, a glimpse of Your power could undo us, yet we’re drawn to Your presence. Help us understand and believe that we’re held in Your keeping, and that You are stronger than anything we could fear. Help us accept the paradox that in Your love and grace, You may not rescue us from what we fear, and help us trust that Your presence with us will somehow work even the darkness to good in Your time.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.