Pastor Bill Farrow
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 1:7)
          Last time, we began to think our way through this wonderful and profound Proverb of Solomon.  At the very beginning of the verse we noted Solomon’s reference to “the fear of the Lord” and thought it wise to begin by considering just what the scripture says about this term “the fear of the Lord”.  We began thinking through this profound idea by considering Isaiah 8:13 and saw that he had tied the holiness of God with this thought of fearing God and even seeing to it the “dread” of the Lord colored all that we do.
         Another OT verse that speaks of this truth is found in Jeremiah 32:39–40 where this great Prophet ties the making of the Covenant of God with the fulfilling and reliability of that coming fulfilling.  He says that He has given them the necessary manner of life that leads to the fulfilling of His covenant with them.

“…then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.”

         Notice the manner in which he words this bringing forth of His covenanted promise.  He will “give them” what He paints as needful.  God has been using Jeremiah to give them “God’s Assurance of His People’s Return”.  You’ll remember that, sue to their failure to obey and submit to the commands and leading God, that God was allowing Babylon to come (between 605 and 586 BC) and take them into captivity in Babylon because of their sin.  
         Jeremiah, along with a number of other Prophets, spoke of God’s desire and plan to bring His people back to faithfulness and into His blessing.  Jeremiah is wonderfully and completely specific about just what the requirements for this return to God’s blessing were and that they would fulfill those things after He gave them “one heart and one mind”. 

37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. 38 They shall be My people, and I will be their God; (Jeremiah 32:37–38)

         Jeremiah sets the stage for what he will shortly say by rehearsing the truth that He WILL INDEED observe the Covenant that he made with their fathers on more than one occasion.  Even though it was the expression of His anger that had resulted in their being taken away into captivity (both Northern AND Southern Kingdoms) God, time and again reminded His people that He had made covenant with them and that He would be faithful to those promises and bear them BACK to their home.
         We need to remind ourselves that IS a promise keeping God.  He not only made Covenant with Abraham and with the nation of Israel as a whole in the OT Covenants, but He has also included them in the “whosoever will” may come of the New Covenant established through the Finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary’s cross.  This is the very idea that Jeremiah had in mind in his prophecy here in Jeremiah 32. 

They will be brought to fear the Lord by His graceful and merciful interaction in their national lives.

         Thinking a bit more about this matter of the “fear of the Lord” we need to understand that it is really only understood through the Scripture.  It is not something that man comes to see by his own wisdom or accomplishes through his own effort.  The Scriptures MUST be the means by which this essential quality of man comes to be. Solomon told us (and Israel) this over in Proverbs 2:2–5:

2  So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding; 
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, 4 If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God.

         We’ve seen this passage before and noted that what Solomon is speaking of here is NOT merely the exercise of the mind and abilities of that mind to perceive what is true and right.  Solomon is speaking of the Word of God, though not entirely the written Word (though there was quite a bit existent at that time (Moses, David and a number of other writers prior to Solomon had written as Prophets and their writings we available and usable).  Solomon himself was a recognized Prophet of God and so what he held forth in this manner was to be heard and sought as that which could be embraced as wisdom and that which gives understanding from God’s point of view.  
         He tells his people that they to…

         ·        “Incline” their ears
         ·        “Apply” their hearts
         ·        “Cry out” for discernment
         ·        “Lift up” their voices for understanding
         ·        “Seek ‘her’” as silver
         ·        “Search for ‘her’” as hidden treasures”

         Were they to do so, he tells them that THEN, as a result of those things, they will understand just what it is to “fear the Lord” and also “find” the knowledge of God.  The fear of the Lord, which leads, so we see, to understanding the reality of Who God is and what He is truly like comes as a result of giving heart and effort to hearing and pondering what God has said through His prophets.  It is very interesting and challenging when we remember that it is not merely through our efforts, but it is when we put effort and diligence into hearing and taking this revelation of God into of hearts and minds that can recognize this Holy God we serve and can come to know just it is to pay proper worship and submission to His Holy nature.  Let us see to it that this becomes (or continues to be) one of the true focuses of our lives.

         Next time we will pay some effort to just how the Bible describes this “fear of the Lord”.  Aloha until we meet again!
 


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