Sunday, October 20, 2013

a woman who fears the Lord

... a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. (Proverbs 31:30b)

What does it mean to fear the Lord anyway? This theme repeats over and over in Proverbs and yet seems to stand in conflict with this verse from 1 John 4:18:

We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; His perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what He might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what He might do to us and shows that we are not fully convinced that He really loves us.

Worse, the definition of fear reads like this: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Also horror, alarm, panic, agitation, trepidation, dread.

This is our loving God?  I don't think so.

In this case, fear means deep respect for someone or something, high esteem, high regard, admiration, appreciation.

Fear of the Lord means understanding how big, how awesome, how powerful, how great God really is.  It translates into trusting His Word, and it is expressed by obedience to His commands.

The fact of the matter is, God is big and powerful and He can hurt us.  In that respect, it is foolish not to fear Him!  But on the other hand, He is tender and loving and has gone to great lengths, to the earth and back literally, to restore our relationship with Him and to arrange for us to be with Him forever in Heaven.

The Excellent Wife -- at the core of who she is, she fears the Lord.  It is the why behind her good character, purity, servant's heart.  Her relationship with God is the primary one for her and the influence of that relationship spills into everything she does, all that she is.

Proverbs begins with this theme, contrasting fear with foolishness: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)  The Excellent Wife seeks wisdom and accepts instruction.  She is willing to learn.  She does not feel she knows it all, or knows better.  She is willing to come to the Lord to find wisdom.

Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.

He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to Him. (Proverbs 2:3-8 New Living)

Wisdom is something God gives.  We can find it no where else.  But we have to seek it, ask for it.  God never forces us.

Father, I don't always want to come and ask You!  Honestly , even still, sometimes I just want to have my own way, do what I want.  I say I want to be wise, but not enough to search Your Word and obey it.  In wisdom, there is submission to truth and submission is hard.  Forgive me, Father.  You have given me so many reasons to trust You! In the end I do need to believe that You are good and You really loves me.  

I believe!  Help my unbelief!

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