As I’ve read through my Bible this year, my focus has unintentionally become the fear of the LORD. I noticed it early on this year as I began the 3650 plan, and I continue to mark it as I work through God’s Word. (It’s everywhere!) Recently as I was reading Proverbs 1, I noticed again something I underlined a few months ago: (emphasis mine)
Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.
Have you ever thought of the “fear of the LORD” as something you can choose?
As I prepare for my upcoming marriage, I read Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage. These lines pointed me right back to the theme of my Bible reading this year:
“Fear” in the Bible means to overwhelmed, to be controlled by something. To fear the Lord is to be overwhelmed with wonder before the greatness of God and his love.”
Later, Keller writes that “being filled with the Spirit and the fear of the Lord are basically the same thing. They both refer to an inner spiritual experience and reality, but each phrase brings out different aspects of it. They both take people ‘out of themselves.'”
If the Spirit has opened the eyes of our heart, we’re able to choose to fear our LORD. What would that look like? The negatives in Proverbs 1 are instructive. Choosing to fear the LORD would involve heeding His counsel and loving — not despising — His reproof. That would necessarily mean I’d know His counsel — His Word, and that would mean I’d have to devote time and energy to reading it, studying it, hiding it in my heart, and obeying it in the course of my days. And Keller’s words are helpful: Choosing to fear the LORD would mean I’m controlled by Him and His Words, overwhelmed with wonder, worshipping Him. This only happens as I choose to spend time with Him, humbling myself before Him, trusting Him, seeking His wisdom and insight.
It’s so easy to look at our current situation in life without contemplating the myriad choices along the way that got us here. Contrary to what our culture preaches, life doesn’t just happen. It’s the product of a gazillion choices — some small, some enormous — that lead us either to the wisdom of fearing the LORD or the folly of going our own way.
So today we have a choice before us. Will we fear the LORD or go our own way?
Praying I choose wisely,