Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
365 times in the Bible, God said “Fear not.” So why does the Bible talk about fearing God? Poetic Proverbs have limits, so let’s examine this in more detail. Keep in mind that I’m Kristi, not God, so the observations below are based on one human’s limited perspective 🙂
1. Stomach churning is probably not God. What do you fear? Disaster? Loneliness? Violence? Losing your job? Sliding back into your old habits? There are things that absorb our attention and take our eyes off God. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The churning in your stomach, the racing thoughts as you try to sleep are replaced with power and love and mental health as you focus on God and trust in Him. This world holds nothing that deserves our fear, because God is bigger than any boogeyman in the world.
2. Recognize – Respect – Overcome. From childhood, we whistle in the dark, puff up our chests and talk tough in order to avoid being afraid. We are trained to think that fear of any sort is bad. I personally love the Nike motto, “No Fear.” But any soldier, fireman or successful entrepreneur will tell you there’s a healthy kind of fear, a respect that allows you to assess and hopefully overcome the dangers in a situation. Lives are destroyed by seemingly harmless decisions people make, or habits we form. We so easily get ourselves into physical and spiritual messes that I’m reminded of the line from “Amazing Grace” that says,“’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.” The wisdom in Proverbs, and in the rest of this manual for living God gave us, first makes us recognize the danger we’re in when we are following our appetites and instincts, and then shows us that God is bigger and if we give Him our respect, He’ll lead us through.
3.Keep your paws off the exhaust. We’ve looked at the things we could fear and discussed how keeping our eyes on God helps us overcome fear and walk in wisdom. But let’s look directly at the fear OF GOD. God is the creator of the universe. Dude has power. If you don’t know God or haven’t learned to trust Him yet, He might resemble a flame, nice for heat and cooking but how close do you want to get? God is always working through people and circumstances in every direction at once, to accomplish good. We can be part of that work, protected because we’re at His side, or we can get in the way. No matter how much Dad loves his kid and wants to protect him, if Dad’s welding the exhaust pipe onto his Harley and Junior sticks his hand on it, Junior will get hurt. Just like Dad, God will scoop us up and comfort us if we let Him, but it’s better if we just listen and follow directions, right?
Stay in step with God, get to know Him through books such as Ephesians, learn His wisdom through Proverbs, and talk to Him about everything. You will learn that the time to fear God is when you’re not in step with Him. You can always trust that God loves you and wants to bless you as you stick by His side. And check out this song.
Thank You, Lord, for being Someone we can know, Someone who loves us and knows what true good really looks like and how to get there. Chase away our earthly fears and remind us how big You are, and keep our ears open so we can learn what You’re teaching and not get burned along the way. Thanks, God. We love you!