“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
This is where it all starts, “fearing the Lord.”
The word “fear” used in this context means something different than how we use the word colloquially here in the US. Generally, when we use the word “fear” we use it because we have a sickening feeling something bad is going to happen. That isn’t the meaning here. I read through some commentaries on the original meaning of this word in this context. They all said pretty much the same thing,, but I liked Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible the best. Check this out:
“The fear of the Lord” is not meant a servile fear, a fear of punishment, of hell, wrath, and damnation, … (but instead) … it supposes a knowledge of God as a father, of his love and grace in Christ, particularly of his forgiving love, from whence it arises, Psalm 130:4; it is a holy, humble, fiducial fear of God; a reverential affection for him, and devotion to him; it includes the whole of religious worship, both internal and external; … this is the first of all sciences to be learned, and it is the principal one; it is the basis and foundation of all the rest, on which they depend; and it is the head, the fountain, the root and source, from whence they spring; and unless a man knows God, knows God in Christ, and worships him in his fear, in spirit and in truth, according to his revealed will, he knows nothing as he ought to know; and all his knowledge will be of no avail and profit to him; this is the first and chief thing in spiritual and evangelical knowledge, and without which all natural knowledge will signify nothing.”
This is echoed in John 15:5 when Jesus said, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (NLT)
Have you ever had a boss who hated you, or didn’t care about you at all and you knew it? How much did you want to do for that person? Probably not much. In fact, your skin may have crawled when they ordered you around or attempted to “impart their wisdom on you.” When words came out of their mouth, you probably despised those words. You may have allowed this situation to continue because you were afraid for some reason. The truth is, we can only respond in fear for so long without bitterness, exhaustion, burn out and finally outright rebellion.
In order to embrace the wisdom in Proverbs, God knows we need to believe deep to the core that He loves us. He’s not the evil boss, or the horrible parent many know so well (and learned not to listen to.) God loves everything about us and He cares deeply about all of it. He honestly really loves us. Yes you, personally. Yes me, personally. Not only does He love us, but He loves us tenderly because we are his own children.
Jesus said in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”(NIV)
Jesus tells us not to be afraid, but instead enjoy His peace.
Can you enjoy God’s peace, knowing that He truly loves you? Do you believe He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross as the punishment for the wrong things you have done because God and Jesus love you so much? Once you understand and believe, the the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, comes to live in you. Now, the wisdom of the Bible becomes clear. Not only that, we are open to listening to God’s wisdom because we truly believe He loves us and cares about every problem we have big or small. He wants to help, and He can help, He will help… in powerful, meaningful, soul-fulfilling ways. We are no longer afraid. We are completely loved.
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” (NLT)
Note it doesn’t say “some worries.” It doesn’t say He thinks of you “never” or “every once in awhile if he has time.” Nope! God loves you personally, always. He sees everything that concerns you, and He is always thinking about you and He is always available to help.
That’s a deep, personal love from a very powerful God.
This is the starting place. If we want wisdom around our life, and our food, we must be SURE that God loves us, He saved us through His Son, AND is saving us every day by the gifts He gives us through the Holy Spirit; for example peace, wisdom and love.
For reflection during your prayer time:
1. What if you truly believed God cared about you enough to always listen and help with whatever you were going through each day, each moment? What would be different? Would you eat differently?
2. Is God a better friend than food? Is He more available? More consistent? More helpful?
3. How can you learn more about God’s deep love for you? Ask God to show you how to experience His deep love for you personally throughout the day.
4. When you want to go to food as a solution because conventional wisdom tells you food will help … try going to God for help (instead of food) in that moment. What are some ways you could do this?
This is Day 3 in “Eating Through the Proverbs,” a Bible study about food, by Julia Fikse ©2019.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
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