Tag Archives: Fear of the Lord

The Protection of Wisdom

For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.” – Proverbs 2:6-8

God gives wisdom.

The first thing to realize is that He gives wisdom to all, regardless of faith or belief, as evidenced by people of all backgrounds who make wise decisions in this world.

This is why, in verses 7-8, he explains more deeply that He sets aside sound wisdom for the righteous, the saints of God.

To keep it simple, non-believers (those who do not believe in God or believe in a different god than that revealed in the Bible) become futile in their thinking. They believe and teach things that are contrary to God’s truth and even sound reason, and they bring others with them. (See Romans 1-3, 1 Corinthians 1)

For the faithful, God’s wisdom does three things:

  1. Shields (the buckler): We are protected from lies and deceit, because we know the truth and can see deception more clearly. Arguments against us fall flat.
  2. Guards (keeps): Truth is protected, because lies cannot hold up. Whereas a shield deflects, a guard holds back. I am reminded of a contrast of debates I saw in which one man had to keep coming up with answers because he did not rely on the Bible, but another man shot down his opponents initial questions by simply quoting the Bible (with brief, simple explanations as needed). There was no need to continually adapt to new attacks, because his initial, biblical answers ended the questioning.
  3. Supports (Preserves): God’s truth will always sustain us. We do not need to be concerned with future attacks, debates, or seemingly contradictory evidence. Nor do we need to worry about “slipping” in faith, word, or deed. We may stumble, but His truth remains for us to eternally fall on and hold us up. (See Matthew 10:16-20, Mark 13:9-11; Luke 12:8-12; John 14:26)

The ultimate sound wisdom given to the faithful – while helpful in fighting off the “wisdom of the world” – is that we will “understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”

In other words, we will find the truth of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and everlasting life.

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The God-Fearing Woman

Proverbs 31:10,30.

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies… Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” 

The Charming Woman:

There are three common descriptions given to women in today’s Proverb. The first one is favour. This comes from the Hebrew word chen which means grace, favour or charm. In other words, a graceful or charming woman. Charm, King Lemuel says, is deceitful – a lie, deception, disappointment, and a falsehood. Don’t be deceived by a charming woman!

I’m so glad that I’m done with the dating scene. This coming March, my wife and I will be celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary. I don’t miss the dating days at all! When you meet someone new and you are romantically interested in them, an unfortunate thing often happens – both of you will put your best foot forward, trying to impress the other person, and sadly, you don’t really get to know that person well. They might seem charming, but it could be an act.

This is why I think it’s so important for you to get to know a person on a friendship level for an extended period of time before you even consider dating (or courting, whatever you prefer). My wife Liza and I got to know each other in this way and had become best friends for about a year before we ever started dating. In doing so, we had a chance to observe and evaluate the other person’s character without fear of charming deception. It’s a wise thing to do.

The Beautiful Woman:

The second description that King Lemuel gives to a woman is that of beauty. But beauty, he says, is vain – vanity, a vapor, or a breath. In other words, it’s not going to last! How many men have chosen a woman to marry just because she was beautiful, and yet she lacked any sort of inner beauty or godly character? Now, this is not to say that men looking for a wife need to look for someone who’s as ugly as a dog – no! But what it means is that there is something far more important and valuable than an external beauty that will one day fade away, and that is an inner beauty of the character of a woman who fears the Lord.

A God-Fearing Woman:

At the beginning of his poem, King Lemuel asks the question: “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” As we come to the end of his treatise, he declares: “A woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” In other words, the ultimate character trait of a virtuous woman is someone who fears and respects the Lord. She not only calls Him Lord, but she also submits her life to Him and His Word. She shuns sin, and strives to live a pure and holy life. And this is the sort of woman who will be praised, and shine brightly!

This is my final devotional post on the Proverbial Thought blog. It has been a joy and a blessing to write alongside of such a great team of men (and one young lady) from around the world, and I wish you all the best as you continue to serve the Lord in every area of your lives. And reader – may you be richly blessed as you put God’s Word first in your life, too!


Multiple Choice Living

Proverbs 28:14

“Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.” (KJV).
“Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.” (NIV). 

The Best Tests:

When I was in school, I always liked multiple choice tests the best. The way most of them were written, you could almost always rule out one or two of the right away, and if you even had a basic knowledge of the material, you would be able to do okay on the exam. In the Book of Proverbs, many times Solomon kind of makes life out to be like a multiple choice test. Only instead of four answers marked A, B, C or D, there are only two choices, and one of them is obviously the smarter choice.

Only Two Choices:

For example, in the above Scripture, Solomon says you have two choices: You can either fear always (that is, fear the Lord), or you can harden your heart. If you fear the Lord, you will be happy and blessed. If you harden your heart, you will fall into trouble or experience mischief. Who wants trouble? Not me! I don’t think any smart person does. So, we’ll choose answer “A!”

Fear the Lord:

What does it mean to fear the Lord? I don’t think it means that we have to cower terrified like someone in a horror movie running from zombies or vampires. Rather, I believe it means that we are to respect God. If we respect God as our Sovereign Lord, then we are going to honour His Word. If He says that we are to be loving, forgiving, accepting people, then that’s what we’re going to do. And we will realize that God doesn’t give us commandments to keep us from having fun. Rather, His commandments are for our own good! When we obey the Bible, we are happy and blessed.

Don’t Harden Your Heart:

What does it mean to harden your heart? I believe this happens when we choose to sin and disobey God. When that happens, we lose the tender sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in our heart, and day by day, it becomes more hardened. We become desensitized to sin, and stop feeling guilty about doing wrong things. Eventually, we are running away from God, and we end up in trouble and mischief. So don’t harden your heart!

Lord, we are so thankful that you are a good God, and that your commandments are for our own good, to give us a future and a hope. Help us to reverentially fear you, and trust that you are good, and that your commandments are so that we can experience the blessed life. In Jesus’ precious name, amen!


Forfeit by Sin

Proverbs 20:2

The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul. (KJV)
A king’s wrath strikes terror like the roar of a lion; those who anger him forfeit their lives. (NIV)

Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart

What happens if you break the rules?

That seems like such a simple question, but for some reason we, humanity as a whole, seems to disregard the answer to this question on a fairly regular basis.

We prove this by keeping the wrong change when given too much by the cashier, posting a stupid and mean comment online, or speeding while driving down the road.

Yet think about this: what tends to happen when we see a police car on the side of the road? We have a minor panic attack thinking about the trouble we may be in!

It is evidenced by our children disobeying established rules, like throwing a ball in the house, playing with toys instead of doing homework, or doing something wrong and blaming a sibling or a friend.

How do the children feel? Afraid of the coming punishment, because they know they did something wrong. They hear their parents coming a mile away!

How do parents feel? Heartbroken that their child cannot follow simple rules.

God Hates Sin

Every time we sin, it is like telling our Heavenly Father His rules are stupid. We invite His punishment, and often with reckless abandon.

Sadly, it is our reckless abandon that invites His wrath, as well.

The good news is that God loves us so much and hates our sin so much that He stepped down into humanity to save us from His wrath by dying on the cross and rising from the grave.

Those who continue to disobey His laws and refuse to acknowledge His sacrifice remain under His wrath.

In effect, they choose to “sinneth against [their] own soul” and “forfeit their lives” to the wrath of the King.

Just King, thank You for saving us by taking the wrath due us on Your own shoulders. Help us by Your Holy Spirit to obey Your commands to love each other. Help us to love those who are still under Your wrath and lead them to Your grace and forgiveness.


Fear God

Proverbs 19:23

“The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.” (KJV). 

What is the Fear of the Lord?

The fear of the Lord is spoken of 13 times in the Book of Proverbs (in the KJV). Here are some of the things Solomon tells us about the fear of the Lord:

  • 1:7:      It is the beginning of knowledge.
  • 8:13:    It is to hate evil; pride and arrogance.
  • 10:27:  It prolongs days.
  • 14:26:  In it there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.
  • 14:27:  It is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.

One of the best descriptions is in Proverbs 16:6: “By the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” How can we break free from a life of sin? With a healthy fear of the Lord. But what does it mean to fear the Lord?

God the Great and Powerful:

In an effort to overemphasize the love and grace of God (to a fault), people have watered down what it means to fear the Lord. But if you study the original Hebrew word yirah, you will see that it means: fear, terror; awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear); fear (of God), respect, reverence, piety; revered. Although it is true that God is love, He is also awesome, powerful and great, and we need to rediscover a healthy fear of the Lord in the church today.

God is the Creator of the Universe, and as such, He is the one who has made the rules that govern life. And we as His creation have broken His rules, and therefore, we are guilty. Apart from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, there is no hope. But if we recognize that we are sinners, and turn from our sins and receive God’s free gift of salvation, then and only then we no longer need to fear the wrath of God. The Bible says, “So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family — calling him “Father, dear Father.” (Romans 8:15, NLT).

The Blessing to Those Who Fear God:

The Bible tells us that the fear of the Lord leads to life, and when we have a fear of the Lord, we will be satisfied, and the Lord will protect us from evil. That’s a great promise! It’s time for those of us who call ourselves the children of God to begin to show respect for God and His Holy Word, and begin to live lives worthy of our calling. Away with apathy and compromise with sin!

“And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world.” (1 John 4:17, NLT).


A People of Understanding

Proverbs 18:2

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

Time after time the book of Proverbs has given us characteristics of a fool:

  • Fools despise wisdom & instruction (Proverbs 1:7) 
  • Fools hate knowledge (Proverbs 1:22)
  • Fools slander (Proverbs 10:18)
  • Fools cause mischief (Proverbs 10:23)
  • Fools are deceitful (Proverbs 14:8)

Our verse today adds one more characteristics – a fool is someone who does not want to understand.

Bla_Bla_Bla_by_explosiv22I knew a guy in college that was never wrong, even when he was wrong. He did not want to even consider the possibility of being wrong. He knew everything and had the answer to ever question that has ever been asked.

You know the type of person that I am talking about! They have no interest in hearing the truth but are speaking to hear themselves talk and to show others just how much they know.

The New Living says, “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” Fools want to talk all of the time and tell other people their opinions and how things should be done but don’t want to hear any instructions themselves because they know best. Many times, these people talk just to hear themselves, and all that the other people are hearing is “BLA, BLA, BLA”.

FULL CIRCLE

There are several verses in Proverbs that do this, but I believe that our verse today comes full circle with the whole theme of Proverbs. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

As Christians, how can we expect to fear the Lord and grow in knowledge when we want to live our lives the way we want to and aren’t willing to submit to HIS will for our lives. We are saying to Him that I just don’t want to understand Your ways and I think that I can do better. If we are living our lives this way, we are nothing but fools, but I do it all the time!

Lord, I pray that you would help me and others to live our lives in such a way that we would not be fools with our lives. I pray that we would be willing to submit ourselves to you and understand Your ways. 


Are You Afraid?

Proverbs 15:33

“The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom,
    and humility comes before honor.”

What is Fear?

We see lots of mention of fear in the Old Testament. It’s a word that doesn’t fit well with our modern mindset, and so many people who speak about these verses reduce fear to something else. They tell us it is more like awe or respect. Yet even these words have been diluted by our present culture.

When I was a child and did something wrong, I feared the consequences, I feared my parents and the discipline they would bring, the telling off I would receive. Today children seem to fear very few things, and the ideas of respect and awe are replaced by individualism.

Real Fear

But what if fear means fear? What if there is reason to fear God, and this reason makes the grace He shows us all the more amazing?

In the Old Testament the Israelites were afraid to approach the mountain that God met Moses on, Jacob comments on how he came face to face with God and lived.  Maybe fear is the beginning of all wisdom because when we realize that God could do anything He wants at any time, He could make our lives miserable and full of suffering, He could punish us for our sins.

And yet he doesn’t.

Instead He pours grace upon us, and in Jesus shows us how humility comes before honor.