The Fear of the Lord
Read Proverbs 2:1-5
The fear of the Lord is pivotal in our Christian walk. Understanding this key concept will enable us to push forward in the things of God without getting bogged down. Although Solomon wrote to instruct his son Rehoboam in these wonderful truths, we too can learn from the steps which lead us to the fear of the Lord.
Real effort is required to attain the goal mentioned in verse 5: “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God”. First, we need to “receive” (v 1) the word of the Lord. This involves an earnest desire to be blessed, for “how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matt7.11). Our heavenly Father, who wants the best for us, is glad to give us all we need. Once we have confidence in His word, we must “hide” (v 1) His commandments inside us. The Psalmist tells us he treasured up the Word of God “that I might not sin against thee.” (Ps 119.11). Just as he sought to be holy, so those who by precious blood belong to the Lord Jesus Christ will wish to be conformed to His image. In so doing we will become holy, for God is holy (1 Peter 1.16). We must, however, be willing to “incline” our ear (v 2) and listen. When God speaks, His people must be attentive to His commandments. Solomon knew that simply hearing the truth was not enough; we have to trust and obey. Because the heart controls the thoughts, desires and emotions, it is vital to“apply thine heart to understanding” (v 2), for “out of it are the issues of life” (Prov 4.23).
This all sounds very time consuming – and it is! There is no shortcut to godliness. The exhortation, “if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding” (v 3), suggests a dogged earnestness to reach the goal of verse 5. Like blind Bartimaeus, who loudly “began to cry out” (Mark 10.47) to the One who could heal him, we need to be determined in our thirst for knowing God. Bartimaeus did not whisper, nor did he call out only once and then give up: rather, he cried over and over again until his persistence was rewarded.
Solomon’s picture language draws on different body parts in the quest for the goal of verse 5. The ears, heart, lips, and now the eyes are involved: “If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures” (v 4). Job was familiar with mining for precious metals (Job 28.1,12) but realised that the hunt for divine wisdom was far more important. “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” (v 12). His questions are answered at the close of the chapter: “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28.28). The answer combines reverence in attitude (“the fear of the Lord”) with obedience in action (“depart from evil”).
The challenge is this. Do we invest as much energy into studying God’s word as we do in our secular work? Let us be diligent in informing our hearts as well as our heads with the truth of scripture. Understanding the fear of the Lord will ultimately lead us to a deeper and more devoted relationship with our loving Saviour, Jesus Christ.