Today’s passage is a short one:
Fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.
I generally do not like the passages in the Bible that advise us to fear God. I think this is because I want to think of God as just the loving God. The Father in the Prodigal Son story who welcomes us back with open arms. When I read passages about fearing God, I think about God smiting and sending fire and brimstone. And I don’t want to think about that (probably because I might deserve it sometimes). Or maybe I don’t want to think about it because I don’t like the idea of being powerless to anyone else. (and yet, of course, I am powerless, I am weak). It bothers me that God seems to want us to fear Him. I struggle with this.
So today’s passage has had me thinking all day. “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” We would be foolish not to want this. But I am struggling because I don’t generally like things that I am afraid of. And in general I fear evil or things that want to do me harm.
I spent a little time googling and found that some suggest that “fear” as used in the Bible includes awe, reverence, adoration, honor, worship, love and fear. This makes me feel better. This makes me think of the fear because we are in the presence of such an amazing, AWESOME power — not because we are afraid He will hurt us. God doesn’t want to hurt us. We hurt Him. He doesn’t hurt us.
When I think of fear in terms of someone we love, the fear is of losing that person. Losing my spouse or my son is my greatest fear. Perhaps this is the fear we need. Fear of losing God. Fear of being without Him. Fear of disappointing or hurting Him.
I love you. I am in awe of you and afraid of what I do not know. Help me to grow in your love. I don’t want to be without you.