Years ago, I remember reading in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” I must confess, it threw me for a loop. I thought maybe wisdom began by seeking the Lord’s guidance or even because of reading the Bible thoroughly. But placing a connection with fear and wisdom left me bewildered.
I mean, really? God is love. The Bible says so. It details what love is in 1 Corinthians 13. A loving God is an image I can totally support and get behind. Yet, I long to live wisely and make choices which center on His guidance. Then, I return to Proverbs 9. Oh that verse. It clearly states, the first step toward attaining wisdom is fear of the Lord. What if I don’t want to fear God? What if I choose to view Him as my best friend? He gave His life for me , why experience fear in that image of God?
I struggled with these thoughts for years but as a parent a new revelation met my mind. Sometimes I cannot explain enough the consequences of the actions my daughters choose. They have no desire or motivation to listen. Sometimes, they need to trust me enough to act on what I say to ensure their safety in a given moment. For example, “stop” is a powerful word. If I tell my girls to “stop”, there’s a reason. Recently, as we walked in a parking lot, they giggled and spoke together and didn’t see the car approaching their direction. The car had just turned and couldn’t see their short bodies. I said, “stop”.
Because my daughters know that not listening to mom usually lands them in some sort of trouble or they lose a toy they enjoy, they listened. They didn’t know why. In that instant, they didn’t need to know why. Time was too short to go into a detailed description of what might happen. For lack of a better way of putting it, they had fear of what mom might do. That fear enabled them to quickly make a wise choice.
God’s enormous love for us is true, but it only reveals part of the story. God is the creator of all things, every detail. From the most beautiful rainbow to the thundering earthquake, God’s hand produced it all. That hand wields great power. I may not know why He tells me to place no other gods before Him, but because of my respect for His power. Because of, yes I’ll say it, fear. I honor His request. This overflows into other arenas too. My pre-marriage dating life, my finances, what kind of mom I dream of becoming are all determined by the recognition that one day I will face my Creator and give an account for my choices. More than anything I long to hear, “well done”.
As I struggle with Proverbs, I do see a positive result from a healthy fear of One who controls so much. Do you face and embrace this fear or is it a struggle?