Fear God — Fear Life Without Him

Today’s passage is a short one:

Fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 1:7

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.

Lord,

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.

 

 

Best laid plans

The bible often brings me back to one recurring refrain: God’s plan, not my plan.  His will, not mine.  Tonight’s passage is no exception:

Plans are made in human hearts, but from the LORD comes the tongue’s response.  All one’s ways are pure in one’s own eyes, but the measurer of motives is the LORD.  Entrust your works to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.  The LORD has made everything for a purpose, even the wicked for the evil day.  Every proud heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured that none will go unpunished.  By steadfast loyalty guilt is expiated, and by the fear of the LORD evil is avoided.  When the LORD is pleased with someone’s ways, he makes even enemies be at peace with them.  Better a little with justice, than a large income with injustice.  The human heart plans the way, but the LORD directs the steps.

Proverbs 16:1-9

It is so easy to get lost in my own thoughts, my own plans, my own desires.  It is so easy to believe I know what I am doing, or to believe that what I am doing is all for good.  But if I am honest, almost all of my plans are selfishly driven.

Lord, open my heart to your plans.  Help me to trust my works to you.  Direct my steps because I want them to lead to you.  Allow me to let go, and to mean (and understand) with all my heart: Thy will be done.

O Lord, Give Me Rest

Today the Bible opened in two places.

First:

The pronouncement of mortal man: “I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and I am exhausted.

I am more brute than human being, without even human intelligence; Neither have I learned wisdom, nor have I the knowledge of the Holy One.

Proverbs 30:1-3

And then:

Therefore, let us be on our guard while the promise of entering into his rest remains, that none of you seem to have failed.  For in fact we have received the good news just as they did. But the word that they heard did not profit them, for they were not united in faith with those who listened.  For we who believed enter into [that] rest, just as he has said:

“As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter into my rest,’”

and yet his works were accomplished at the foundation of the world.  For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works”; and again, in the previously mentioned place, “They shall not enter into my rest.” Therefore, since it remains that some will enter into it, and those who formerly received the good news did not enter because of disobedience, he once more set a day, “today,” when long afterwards he spoke through David, as already quoted:

“Oh, that today you would hear his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts.’”

Now if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterwards of another day.  Therefore, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God.  And whoever enters into God’s rest, rests from his own works as God did from his.  Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience. Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.  No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.

Hebrews 4:1-13

I often feel like I need rest.  A few more hours of sleep.  A few hours to sit down and just breathe in and out, enjoying the day.  Just a little rest.  Just a few minutes.  I am weary.  I am exhausted.  Weary from the stress of life.  Exhausted from the fast pace of today’s electronic, mobile phone, everything at out fingertips, I-want-it-now life.  When I ask God for rest, I often think in terms of sleep.

Today, the Bible reminds me of the real rest that I am seeking.  God’s rest.  The peace and rest that comes from knowing God.  Proverbs talks about mortal man being weary — because he does not have wisdom, he does not know God.  Hebrews reminds us that we have been promised rest — through God.  It is not something we can achieve without Him.  True rest comes through faith in God, listening to His word and being obedient.  Without that faith the weight of the world can be overwhelming.

Lord,

Let me hear your voice.  Harden not my heart.  Help me to be open to your words and your plans.  I want to find rest in you.

First blog post

I have started to do an amazing thing…   I open the Bible.  Once a day.  Sometimes for just two minutes.  Sometimes for much longer.  I do not start at the beginning or pick up where I left off.  I do not select what book I read or what chapter or verse.  I just open it and let my eyes fall where they may.  And more times than not, my eyes fall on a verse or chapter that have incredible meaning to me that day, that moment.  It would be presumptuous to think that God is directing me to something…  wouldn’t it?  I am not the most religious person…  I sometimes struggle to make it to church on Sunday, letting the rest of the world get in the way…  I certainly struggle to put others needs ahead of mine… And the bible was written eons ago…   how could it possibly relate to me …  How could the words on a random page  that I open to make sense in my 21st century life … I don’t know…  Or may be I do and am afraid to admit it.  God is good.  God is all knowing.  And God knows what we need.    So permit me to indulge and share what I read.

Here is today’s “random” Bible opening:

Proverbs 2:1-12:

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure my commands,
Turning your ear to wisdom,
inclining your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you call for intelligence,
and to understanding raise your voice;
If you seek her like silver,
and like hidden treasures search her out,
Then will you understand the fear of the LORD;
the knowledge of God you will find;
For the LORD gives wisdom,
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He has success in store for the upright,
is the shield of those who walk honestly,
Guarding the paths of justice,
protecting the way of his faithful ones,
Then you will understand what is right and just,
what is fair, every good path;
For wisdom will enter your heart,
knowledge will be at home in your soul,
Discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you;
Saving you from the way of the wicked,
from those whose speech is perverse.