Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
At first glance I could imagine many people thinking that this fear of the Lord has to do with terror – I can say that there is certainly a good, full deal of awe going on, but as to terror?
When we talk about terror I remember that one servant in the parable of the talents who didn’t bother to try making something out of what the master gave him. I see the true nature of terror when this said servant mentioned that the reason why he just hid the talent was because he thought or assumed that the master was ‘a hard man’. Because of his assumption, he said it to his master’s face that he thought he was profiting out of other people’s efforts.
So much to say out of having the wrong assumption. So much to say from a standpoint of terror.. and I’m telling you now, that the fear of the Lord is absolutely not grounded in terror. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – to fear the Lord certainly has its roots in simply believing that God is who He says He is, which is absolutely more than who we think and/or say He is.
And while we’re at it, general terror has its roots in giving in to a wrong impression of someone – and in the case of God, we have all that we need to know about God. That’s right – all we need to look at is Christ.
If Jesus Christ wasn’t telling people straight up about the true nature of God (as He did to Nicodemus), He was giving the people cause to think by way of telling them parables – at times He would go as far as to explain what He really meant to the disciples. Furthermore, if He wasn’t talking to people by way of sermons, parables, or conversations, He was communicating by way of His miracles – His healings, His feeding of the multitudes, His rebuking of the possessed.
Would He stop there? I don’t think so – for even in the responses and reactions He makes to specific people, He is still revealing who God is. Let me explain – He is quick to rebuke Peter. At one point He literally calls him satan, after Peter gives what looks like a careless response to Christ saying He (as a temple) was to be ‘torn down’ – And we all know how Christ’s prediction of Peter denying Him three times came to pass. However, we see in the Gospel of John that it is Peter whom Christ, in an intimate conversation, asked if he loved Him, three times. The point I’m trying to make here is that Christ is revealing how God is by no means a God ‘in general’ – that is, He is a God who knows each and every one of us and loves each and every one of us personally, not as in a blanket statement.
This is why I dare say that when Christ took up a whip and started turning tables over at the Temple, He was dealing with what was in His mind, a non-negotiable – The way I’ve been brought to believe this in the recent years is that Christ responded so passionately to these people because, through what I may only be assuming are exorbitant money-changing rates and high prices for sacrifices, they were openly ridiculing the perfection of the Law and the greatness of Grace. By what these people were doing they were making holiness easily attainable, and they were cheapening righteousness.
In love, Christ meant what He said to them when He reminded them that the temple was to be His ‘house of prayer’ – meaning, where God and man would fellowship… I could imagine Him getting a little more emotional than we would usually picture Him as He says they have made it a ‘den of thieves’.
Do you want to know the fear of the Lord? Look no further than Jesus Christ, who, not only by His words, and not only by His miracles, and not only by His actions – I dare say, all of Christ reveals all God is.
And in that regard, we must ask: are we actually capable of ‘teaching’ the fear of the Lord – when we know that we ourselves are actually learning about God, day by day, hour by hour, breath after breath, with every beat of our own hearts?
I mean, make no mistake – we are constantly learning about God. God curse the day that we would say we know all there is to know about Him. It goes beyond just being right and wrong – it’s just not possible. A finite being can never be able to fully understand what, or WHO is infinite.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this – Christ’s moments with us in this reality are a good starting point for us to truly understand the fear of the Lord. There’s more than there is to know about the nature of Christ, and therefore the nature of God, through the Gospels – We give God thanks for the Holy Spirit guiding us as we study Christ. He is as I keep on saying – the Living Word that is the Life to our words, and the Word of Life that is the Word seen in all things involving our own lives.
Our learning is by no means limited by the sermons we hear, or the words that we read – no, our literal lives as members of the body of Christ are lives consistently spent learning about our God.
It doesn’t stop there. See, let us not forget that we ourselves have been made temples of the Holy Spirit. As such , there are some aspects of the temple that we have for ourselves – understand that this is the same temple that Christ called ‘a house of prayer’, and not ‘a den of thieves’. This tells me that through Christ’s finished work, our defaults have changed: We are living, breathing temples, and we are living, breathing houses of prayer. Our very existence is an open call, an ongoing communication between us and the Creator of the Universe, guaranteed just as Christ died and rose again for us to be so close to each other that we are in Christ, and Christ is in us. Consequently, in our existence, thieves may try to break in and corrupt, but ultimately, there would be eventually no trace of them in the span of eternity.
Our literal lives now serve as a full-on celebration of Christ and His finished work – we are living, breathing testimonies to the goodness and greatness of God. It’s not only limited to these words that I type, nor can it only be contained by social media, pictures, and/or videos. No, our literal lives as members of the body of Christ are lives consistently spent projecting, and teaching about our God.
Friends, in conclusion, do not be quick to listen to the words of the men and women that would have you cowering under their finite and limited assumptions of our Heavenly Father. Instead, know for a fact that part of your salvation is involvement in continually learning and also teaching about God, from the foundation of Christ and His finished work; That right there is the fear of the Lord.
God bless us all.