To Be Undone

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." - Proverbs 9:10

To even touch on an understanding of the nature of God is to fall at his feet completely undone. I believe that the more we wrap our minds around who He is, the more our hearts bow in reverence.

Sometimes I get caught up between whether I am spending time learning about the truth of God in an intellectual sense or spending time in awe of His presence in an emotional sense. However, the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The more we learn about Him, the more we should be able to recognize His holiness.

To the best of my understanding, the fear of the Lord comes from a recognition of His holiness. When we see Him, truly see Him, the proper response is to be filled with a trembling reverence of His majesty.

The feeling that comes with realizing the closeness of an omnipotent God could easily be described as fear. It’s the absolute best type of fear. It’s the thrilling sensation when you realize there is nowhere you can go to hide from His power, and there is nowhere you can go to hide from His love.

Have you ever been perfectly overwhelmed by a moment where Heaven seems to touch Earth?
Have you ever felt the presence of God so strongly that your entire body reacted to the reality of Who He is? I desperately hope that the answer is yes, because these encounters are the only way that the fear of God will truly make sense to you.

A little side note, we don’t all experience the presence of God in the same way. Some people have more emotional or more physical reactions. But I believe that if you let down your walls and become aware of His presence, He will touch you to your core.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom
Living out a fear of the Lord is humbling. When we fall to our knees before Him, we put ourselves in a position of honoring rather than being honored. We cease to claim complete understanding, and we turn our eyes to Him for answers instead of trying to provide them for ourselves.

Wisdom is the opposite of pride and arrogance; it does not stand for evil behavior and perverse speech. Wisdom dwells with prudence, knowledge, and discretion.

“To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I [Wisdom] hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviors and perverse speech.” - Proverbs 8:13

So wherever evil stems from insensitivity and ignorance, wisdom is the solution to such atrocities. Wisdom invites us to leave our simple ways so that we might live a full life and walk in the ways of insight. But any search for wisdom must begin at the foot of the cross.

“For through wisdom, your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.” - Proverbs 9:11

We fear God because He is holy
There is no other being so worthy of our reverence than God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit. He is holy and He deserves our praise. Worship stems from this reverence and this admiration of His holiness.

“Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him!” - Psalm 33:8

I love the metaphor that C.S. Lewis painted with Aslan in his Chronicles of Narnia. The character of the Lion is one whom anyone would tremble before. He is not one to be taken lightly or to flippantly address. He is powerful. But He is good.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But He’s good. He’s the King.” - The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S Lewis

Doesn’t that paint a picture for you of how you would likely act before Him? You wouldn’t question His right to reverence. Not only because He is all powerful do we freely give our praise, we give it because He is all powerful but good enough to love us. He is filled with holiness.

“Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.” - Psalm 96:9

God has mercy for those who fear Him
The incredibly powerful thing about the fear of God, is that it is not the same as a fear of punishment. We aren’t afraid of God or what He will do if we do not worship Him. He is not tyrannical. He does not threaten us or hold punishments over our heads.

Instead, He looks at our weaknesses, He sees our broken places, and He knows our mistakes, but He forgives us. He is a merciful God. The ultimate expression of His mercy was Jesus on the cross. He took our sins upon Himself and traded us mercy for death.

“And His mercy is for those who fear Him generation after generation.” - Luke 1:50

Because of His great mercy, we are given the privilege of worshiping Him. In Jesus’s day, there was a veil within the Tabernacle which separated the holy of holies (where God’s presence dwelt) from an outer holy place.

Only the high priest could enter the holy of holies and only on the Day of Atonement when the high priest would take an offering into the chamber. However, when Jesus died on the cross, that veil was rent, and we as Christians now have an invitation into the presence of God at any time.

“But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple.” -  Psalm 5:7

Don’t miss the importance of mercy in allowing us into His presence. Even the high priest had to go through extensive cleaning and process of atonement before they were allowed to briefly enter the holy of holies. But now, the atonement and cleansing has already been done for us.

Now the Lord welcomes us into His presence as his honored children. When we fear the Lord, He rescues us from the snares of death and gives us an abundant life.

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.” - Proverbs 14:27

We fear the Lord because that is what He tells us to do
Out of a place of reverence should be born a spirit of obedience. We see God’s power, we see His goodness, we are amazed by His personal love for us, and our response should be to listen to what He asks of us and obey.

“What does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” - Deuteronomy 10:12

Author | Mackenzie Wells





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