Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Two Important Beginnings

Two Important Beginnings
Barbara Henderson

In the beginning……
The fear of God is the beginning…..

The first verse of the first book of the Bible says, ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’  Now that was a beginning!  God Almighty created everything out of nothing.  The next verses and chapters tell the order of creation and the names of the first two people.  The book of Genesis goes on to give to mankind a brief history of the events in the lives of the first people and the generations that followed. By reading Genesis we know the beginning of mankind, the world, all creatures, and the beginning of sin and sorrow.

All the people born into this world of sin are looking for something better.  It is hard to figure out what to do to make a better life.  We need wisdom and knowledge for our own good and for the good of people around us.  The Bible tells us how to begin.  We begin by fearing the Lord.

Psalm 111:10
 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Proverbs 1:7
 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

What is the fear of the Lord?
The fear of the Lord is reverent awe. 
God is the One who created you.
God is the One who has power to give eternal life.
God is the One who has power and authority over all the kings of the earth.
God is actually does know everything; He is everywhere; and He is all powerful.
God tells us repeatedly that He loves us.
He also tells us that He hates sin, and that there are consequences for the sins of the individual.
I think the beginning of the ‘fear of the Lord’ is to take God seriously. 
When you start to take God seriously then obedience follows.  You begin to work at actually doing the things He says to do

Proverbs 16:6 tells us, ‘By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.’

When a person starts to take God seriously he or she begins to change what they do.  What is serious to God becomes serious to that person. 

Proverbs 22:4 says, ‘By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.’

This proverb gives us a few of the benefits of fear of the Lord.

Psalm 34:11-14 instructs believers in developing an attitude that fears the Lord.

11. Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
13. Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
14. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

These verses are pretty straight forward.
We are to listen and learn the fear of the Lord.
We are promised a better future by fear of the Lord.
We are given specific instructions on ‘how’ to show fear of the Lord.

Watch your mouth!  Don’t speak evil.  Remember the old adage ‘what’s in the well comes up in the bucket’.  That means what is in your heart is going to come out your mouth! 

Memorize Philippians 4:8 which instructs us, ‘Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.’

What evil are you doing?  Well – whatever it is – stop it!  Depart from evil.  By the way, ‘evil’ is anything you are doing wrong. It probably isn’t murdering people or embezzling millions from the bank.  It is more likely gossip, complaining, fits of temper, blaming other people for things over which they actually have no control, giving less than your best at home or at work, small lies, procrastinating, and many other things that seem small and unimportant.  However, they are important to God.  If you fear Him, you will work at departing from evil.

When you make an effort to stop doing things God calls evil, you suddenly have time on your hands.  More to the point, you have time on your mind.  If you aren’t gossiping you have to find something to do with the time spent gossiping.  If you aren’t blaming people for your problems you have to have something to do with that time as well.  Verse 14b tells us ‘seek peace and pursue it’. 

God is clear that we are to fear Him.  He is also clear that we are not to live a life of fear of anything or anyone else.  One reason to hold God in reverent awe is that He is our protector and our helper.  We are to fear God. Because of His help we do not need to fear the world. 

A simple quote regarding fear is this; ‘“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” Oswald Chambers

We hear a great deal about ‘no fear’ in the world today.  I am sure you have seen people of all sizes and ages wearing t-shirts with the motto ‘no fear’ plastered all over it.  Big deal.  My personal opinion is that in most cases the ‘no fear’ motto means they are going to do what is right in their own eyes without regard to fear of God or even the laws of man.  It often means an excuse to act stupidly.  This is not what the Bible is talking about.

Fear is something that is used to keep us from harm and direct us to safety.  Irrational fear or disregarding consequences is something else entirely.

The Bible instructs us not to fear man or circumstances. We don’t have a reason to fear man or circumstances because our God is so great.

Psalm 118:6 says, ‘The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?’
Hebrews 13:6 says ‘So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.’

Isaiah 41:10 says, ‘Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.’

The fear of God actually strengthens believers to go forward.  When God is helping you, you have a mighty helper.  In Psalm 71:16 the Psalmist says, ‘I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.’ 

Psalm 46:1 promises us that ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’

We know the beginning of the earth from Genesis 1:1
We know the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.
We know that wisdom is available to us because James 1:5 says, ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.’

Obedience is the key.  Ecclesiastes 12:13 instructs us, ‘Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.’

It is summed up fairly well in the old hymn ‘Trust and Obey’.  That should be the motto of every Christian.  ‘I will trust God, and I will obey Him.’  That would be the beginning of a better life for every believer.

Trust and Obey

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
 What a glory He sheds on our way!
 While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
 And with all who will trust and obey.


Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
 To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
 But His smile quickly drives it away;
 Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
 Can abide while we trust and obey.


Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
 But our toil He doth richly repay;
 Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
 But is blessed if we trust and obey.


But we never can prove the delights of His love
 Until all on the altar we lay;
 For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
 Are for them who will trust and obey.


Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
 Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
 What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
 Never fear, only trust and obey.


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