If you’ve been reading through your Bible using the 3650 program, you’ve read nearly 300 chapters of Scripture so far this year and have read all of Joshua, Matthew, Acts, Romans, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and James. Anyone still with me on this?
I continue to note how often we’re instructed on fear: do not fear, fear not, do not be afraid… But as my pastor reminded us on Sunday, God doesn’t only give the negative commands; He gives us the positive, the replacement behavior, the “put on” after we’re told to “put off”: fear the LORD. The issue here is the object, not the verb. I’m not to fear others, evil, the future, suffering, etc. Instead I’m to fear the LORD, because after all, He’s sovereign over it all. And He encourages us to fear Him by reminding us often that He is present.
He also tells us often in His Word that fearing Him is wisdom. We see this in the Psalms, in Proverbs, and Job even reminds his friends in the midst of his suffering: “…the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom…”
Even when the verses don’t mention the word “fear”, we can learn about it. For example, Proverbs 28:1
The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
That’s really a fear problem, isn’t it? The wicked are fearing the wrong things because of guilty, confused consciences, and the righteous can be bold because they’re fearing rightly.
The contrasts in Scripture are instructive, too. Later in that same chapter of Proverbs, we read:
Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always,
but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Here it seems that if we don’t fear the LORD, we’re still doing something (our hearts are never in neutral!) — something terribly dangerous and, well, fearful. We’re hardening our hearts. This really ought to scare us!
I could go on and on, but I’ll close here and encourage you to pick up your Bible and dig in. I find the 3650 program rich and rewarding, but the main thing is to spend time in His Word.
More on this: Do not be afraid