“Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.”
This statement is repeated so often in Scripture that it’s a sort of chorus that reverberates through the whole Book.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.” (Psalm 111:10) “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7) We have such a hard time holding on to such a simple statement; I’m sure that’s why God repeats it so often. Our sinful heart rebels against the idea that we should fear God. We constantly lose sight of the fear of God and choose to sin, focusing only on the pleasure of the moment.
When we stop to think of it, there’s plenty to fear. We know that we will stand before God to give an account of our lives. As our Judge, He has the power to cast us into Hell, and He knows everything. That’s a terrifying thought! To fear God means to turn away from evil; to choose to do the right thing instead - and yet we don’t. We should be afraid! The one thing that makes it bearable is that for Jesus’ sake, the Judge has become my merciful Father in Heaven. I stand before Him, knowing that even though I have sinned in many ways, I am redeemed, forgiven, accepted and loved. With that knowledge, the fear of God becomes, “How could I choose to do this sinful thing, when my loving Father is watching?” Lord, even knowing You, I have often chosen the momentary pleasure of sin. I forget that You are watching, or I presume on Your forgiveness. Only by Your mercy I stand before You. ‘Take not Your mercy from me; restore to me the joy of Your salvation,‘ for Jesus’ sake. Amen. Pastor Dan Giles