The Bare Soul - September 5, 2010
The Fear of the Lord, Part III

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "The Fear of the Lord" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on August 26, 2010.

The Fear of the Lord - August 26, 2010

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

Children are often our greatest examples of how to approach God. The wide-eyed wonder of a child when they are learning about their world warms the hearts of parents and grandparents. Our two year old grandson continues to bring joy to our lives as he is full of discovery with an overarching sense of innocence. His fascination with something as innocuous as a long blade of grass or a beetle in the garden makes us "old folks" appreciate his awe-struck expressions during these times of discovery. There is somehow a reverence for life that adults seem to lose as we learn to take our surroundings for granted. Not so with children. It is though the Spirit of God is leading and guiding them with eyes grateful for what they behold. As we look on the young ones the Lord has blessed us with, it is not hard to see they have a wisdom of innocence probably much like Adam and Eve's innocence in the Garden. Even as the first man and woman walked with God in Paradise, they too must have possessed eyes full of wonder toward their Creator and His creation.

While it is impossible to regain that place of innocence that our original father and mother possessed in the Garden, it is possible to live in the righteousness of wisdom as imparted by the Godhead. For us, it can truly be "Paradise Regained" through the wonder that the Almighty desires to impart to our souls. However, to arrive at this place where we become the receivers of wisdom, we must first walk in the fear of the Lord. As previously discussed in Part I and Part II, the fear of the Lord keeps us from evil and allows us to join hands with our Father while learning from Him. When we fear Him and walk with Him in reverence, we reestablish that Parent/child relationship that allows us to once again become as children thereby relearning all the things we thought we knew. For example, a jaded view of mankind that we might have possessed in our unregenerate life becomes one of hopefulness after we are born again.  We begin to look at the plight of humankind with the love of the Savior, desiring that the scales would be removed from their eyes much in the same way that happened to ours. As born again children of the Most High, we are more accepting of others' failures, yet at the same time we have a mature attitude toward iniquity. We become unyielding to compromise our stated position if others desire to remain in their sin. Thus, we possess not only the wisdom of innocence that Adam and Eve lived in, but we also are clothed in the wisdom of righteousness which is able to judge with love and equity in all situations.

As Proverbs 9:10 tells us, the fear of the Lord is only the beginning of wisdom. To continue to cultivate God's wisdom and knowledge and to bring it to a place of maturity, one must live in the fear of the Lord. Without it, wisdom cannot and will not flourish. Solomon discovered this more poignantly than most as he proceeded to give himself to folly in later years. There came a time in the sovereign's life that he no longer trusted in God. One might conjecture that the king became bored with God's discovery and therefore sought to stimulate himself in sinful ways (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11). The wide-eyed wonder that only God's wisdom can give was lost as Solomon once again revisited Eden. Rather than choosing the Tree of Life full of the wisdom of God he chose instead the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. A careful reading of the book of Ecclesiastes shows that this did not bode well for the once wise ruler. His insistence to explore the depths of depravity led to moral bankruptcy resulting in hopelessness (Ecclesiastes 2:12-17). His once enlightened state became one of a broken down skeptic of all that he once held dear. However, Solomon's lost paradise would be regained in the end when he once again acknowledged God. In Ecclesiastes 12:13 we read: The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. With his wisdom reinstated by the mercy of God, Solomon declared that the fear of the Lord is the wisest thing a person can do in this lifetime. It is both the beginning and the end of wisdom itself.

Jesus answered and said to him (Nicodemus), "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) Nearly 900 years after the death of Solomon, Jesus Himself proclaimed a similar wisdom to the Pharisee Nicodemus as he visited Him by night. Like Solomon, Jesus stated that unless we humble ourselves to God and accept Him as our righteousness and as our wisdom, we will never become sons of the Most High God. Unless we declare by our submission to Him that we know nothing in our own so-called knowledge, then we can never begin to know the wisdom of God. The Father desires to take everyone of us by the hand, leading us and guiding us and giving us His eyes to see as He sees. Just as a toddler views his or her world with wonder and amazement, the Lord God desires for us to see the life he has given us with that same spiritual clarity. It takes a bowing of the heart and an admission that we know not as we should, and an acknowledgement that He knows best. That, beloved, is how we fear the Lord. And, that is how we can live and grow in His wisdom both in this life and in the one to come. May we all live continually in the loving fear of our Great and Loving King, longing for His continued revelation to both our hearts and minds!

Heavenly Father, thank you for the fear of the Lord for it truly is the beginning of wisdom --  a wisdom that allows us to experience the depths of Your love toward all who would but believe. Help us to know You more and more as we put our hand in Yours as the children we are. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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