Fearing the Lord

Proverbs 14

A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
Those who follow the right path fear the LORD; those who take the wrong path despise him.
A fool’s proud talk becomes a rod that beats him, but the words of the wise keep them safe.
Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.
An honest witness does not lie;  a false witness breathes lies.
A mocker seeks wisdom and never finds it, but knowledge comes easily to those with understanding.
Stay away from fools, for you won’t find knowledge on their lips.
The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves.
Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.
Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.
The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the godly will flourish.
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
Backsliders get what they deserve; good people receive their reward.
Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps.
 The wise are cautious[and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.
Short-tempered people do foolish things, and schemers are hated.
 Simpletons are clothed with foolishness, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
Evil people will bow before good people; the wicked will bow at the gates of the godly.
The poor are despised even by their neighbors, while the rich have many “friends.”
It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor.
If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness.
Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!
Wealth is a crown for the wise; the effort of fools yields only foolishness.
A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is a traitor.
Those who fear the LORD are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.
Fear of the LORD is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.
A growing population is a king’s glory; a prince without subjects has nothing.
People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.
A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.
Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.
The wicked are crushed by disaster, but the godly have a refuge when they die.
Wisdom is enshrined in an understanding heart; wisdom is notfound among fools.
Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
A king rejoices in wise servants but is angry with those who disgrace him.

Four verses really stood out of me when I was reading this chapter and all of these verses talk about the importance of fearing the LORD.

“He whose walk is upright fears the LORD l but he whose ways are devious despises him.” (v 2)

“A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.” (v 16)

“He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.” (v 26)

“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.” (v 27)

In today’s world, we tend to focus on God as being loving and forgiving- which is true. He is more loving than any person can ever be, and he has offered us an amazing forgiveness that we cannot fully comprehend. However, he is also just and mighty and holy and deserves to be worshipped with respect. Some churches focus so much on fearing God that they make him out to be an overly strict ruler who is just waiting to punish us for the wrong things that we do. I don’t think that’s why the Bible tells us to fear the LORD. That’s certainly not the attitude that I get from these verses. Here, fearing God appears to be something that will allow us to walk in a way that honors Him and keeps us safe and make us wise.

So what does it mean to fear the LORD? It’s not just being afraid of God. After all, He is our Father and Savior. But I think it means recognizing who God is and having a proper respect for Him as the God of the universe. At the end of the book of Job, when Job is questioning God about why he has lost everything, this is how God answers him:

“Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you will answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone- while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:2-7)

You can keep reading the rest of that chapter (or the rest of scripture), and God continues to display His power and might. He is truly the God of the universe and his understanding no one can fathom. Read Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4-5, which talk about the throne room in heaven. In these verses, you get a picture of the Holy God that we worship. He is truly holy, and we certainly do not deserve to enter His presence. When we have that mindset about God, our walk is upright, we learn to shun evil, we can rest in Him as a secure fortress, and He is our fountain of life.

In my everyday life, do I realize just who this God is, that I claim to worship? Whether I surrender to him or not, He is God and He is in control. I can acknowledge that or not, but it’s much smarter on my end to be on God’s side, because I certainly don’t stand a chance in life or death without him. That a choice we must make.

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