Fear Factor

Carlo Mendoza 

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction."  Proverbs 1:7

With Halloween around the corner, I have noticed an increase in the promotion of either horror movies or haunted houses. Why do so many people flock to these frightful attractions and even pay a steep fee in some cases? There is something about being scared that can be quite thrilling. God has given us this innate ability to be afraid, and many of us even have certain phobias. However, in the Book of Proverbs, which is a collection of extremely wise sayings written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God imparts wisdom about what to fear, or in this case Whom to fear.

In the verse above, Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. This is where true knowledge starts, recognizing that God not only exists, but He is also to be feared. But what does it mean to fear the Lord? There are several ways this can be observed, this can mean to be in sheer terror of God, it can signify a sense of respect, and it can also denote an awe or reverence as well. Here is another way to put it: To fear the Lord is to be constantly aware that God is constantly aware of you. This can be either comforting or convicting, depending on how you are living.

Another factor about fearing God is that only the wise person will take this seriously. The second part of the verse above states that fools despise wisdom and instruction. Now the foolish persons mentioned have less to do with their intelligence quotient and more to do with their outright dismissal of God altogether. An additional and similar statement is made in Proverbs about this very subject.

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

Once again we see this idea of fearing the Lord as foundational to being wise. It goes on to say that knowledge of the Holy One is insight. This Holy One the Bible speaks of is no other than Jesus Christ. To know Jesus and even more importantly to be known by Jesus is the wisest decision a person will ever make. So how do we obtain knowledge of the Holy One? We must look to God’s Word in order to know Him. In fact, here is another passage of Scripture that sums it up:

"And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."  John 17:3

John writes that knowing Jesus Christ equates to having eternal life. This is possible because of what Christ accomplished on the cross. As a matter of fact, this is why God sent His Son. A lot of people are so easily drawn to graphic and gory images of zombie guts and the like, especially this time of the year. But I want to encourage you, look at the cross of Calvary, where Christ hung crucified, beaten, bludgeoned, bruised, and bloody. Jesus died in our place and in this manner so He could pay the penalty of sin that you and I deserved. Will you exercise wisdom today and fear the Lord? Will you surrender your life and your will to Him? This fear of God can be the beginning of faith in Christ.

Lord God, I fearfully come to You today. I realize that You alone are to be feared, because You are above all creation. I do not want to take advantage of the love You have for me and use it as an excuse to sin against You. Help me to have a healthy fear of You that will lead to a life that brings You glory. Amen.

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