The Fear of the Lord; September 29, 2020

Psalms 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

The first line of this verse is justly famous, and is echoed in Proverbs 9:10. The second line has a very interesting difference in the Japanese, as compared to the NIV. Intending to be easier to understand, I’m sure, the NIV translators inserted “his precepts,” whereas the Japanese, (following the Hebrew, I’m sure) simply has, “All who perform this gain good understanding.” We have trouble understanding “performing” the fear of the Lord, but it’s certainly worth taking the time to let the Holy Spirit illuminate our heart. The fear of the Lord is far more than a set of rules, which the NIV seems to limit it to. Rather, it’s an attitude that should control our whole life. This isn’t a “quaking in your boots” sort of fear, but rather a deep awareness that God is GOD; He is absolute in every way. When we really grasp that in the depth of our being, it changes how we see and respond to every element of our lives. The reason the wording here is important is that this isn’t something theoretical or academic, it is the most practical and “real” thing possible. When we fail to fear the Lord we tend to make ourselves the standard by which we measure everything else, and that leads to more problems than I could list. When we do fear the Lord, we understand that He is absolute righteousness and holiness and love, and that changes absolutely everything. There is a strong move in the world today to deny absolute truth. People say, “Whatever works for you,” and want you to let them do whatever they want to do. When we try to insist on absolute truth, we are quickly accused of being judgmental, discriminatory, and a whole raft of other things. All of that comes from a fundamental rebellion against God, and we need to recognize it as such. Right now there is uproar in the US because of the nomination to the Supreme Court of someone who demonstrably lives by this verse. With great horror she is accused of being a Committed Christian! All who know her personally, however, of whatever political persuasion, testify of her deep, consistent wisdom and understanding, just as this verse promises. We all need to emulate her!

This is very close to home for me. I have long loved Proverbs 3:5-6, precisely because I have a strong tendency to lean on my own understanding. I have learned that I have to be comfortable with not knowing everything! I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that God, knowing the end from the beginning, always has the best idea in each and every situation. I don’t like uncertainty, but that’s how I grow in faith. Being obedient when I don’t know the specific outcome can be hard at times, but that’s what the fear of the Lord is all about. When I entered the hospital on the 23rd of September I didn’t know I wouldn’t get out until the 1st of October, but God did, and He has done good things each day. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but He does, and I’m to be at peace with that. As He told me years ago, I’m to rest, relax, and rejoice, letting Him be God and delighting to serve Him however He directs.

Father, thank You for this reminder, and for giving me the message for Sunday while I have plenty of time to work on the outline. I do ask for guidance and anointing in that, and in every moment of today, that I may be Your instrument, delighting You as I delight in You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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