(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, I am an excited man today because we begin the process of working our way through Proverbs; we’ve done a series of introductions to what the Proverbs are about. But, we’re going to handle Proverbs thematically, and these themes will take us for the next thirty or more of these little Bible study sessions, and I just feel such a great sense of privilege that I get to work through the depth of and the wonder and beauty and majesty of this material. The other day, I was researching my way through the Proverbs, and it just washed over me what a deep sense of privilege it is that I get to do this and that God has preserved this material for us.
Well, we want to start with the two of the most dominant themes in Proverbs. The first of those themes is the fear of the LORD. I think that phrase is one of those greatly misunderstood phrases because often when we think of fear, we think of the kind of terror that makes you run away or fight, that heart-pounding, what in the world is happening, how can I get myself out of this thing? And that's not at all what the fear of the LORD is.
The fear of the LORD is such a reverential awe of God that grips your heart that you're willing to listen to His wisdom, you're willing to submit to His commands, you're willing to surrender your will to His will, and you're willing to rest in the awesome promises of His grace. The fear of the LORD makes you run toward Him, not away from Him and causes you to live in a way you would not live apart from Him. It's the fear of the LORD that caused David to walk into that valley of Elah and to challenge that great warrior, Goliath. It's the fear of the LORD that made Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego unafraid of the threats of Nebuchadnezzar. And, it’s the fear of the LORD that has propelled all of His saints to live as soldiers of light in a darkened world.
And so, the fear of the LORD is a wonderful and beautiful thing. I want to just take a moment to just run through how Proverbs talks about the fear of the LORD. Proverbs 3:7 says the fear of the LORD diminishes your trust in your independent wisdom. Chapter 8 says the fear of the LORD crushes pride and arrogance. Chapter 14 says the fear of the LORD produces confidence and courage along with a place to hide, a refuge. Chapter 15 says the fear of the LORD is way more valuable than wealth and affluence. Chapter 16 says it's the fear of the LORD that makes you turn from evil. Chapter 19 says where the fear the LORD is there’s true rest and satisfaction of heart. Chapter 22 says the fear of the LORD brings life and blessing and reward.
Hear that, it’s the fear of the LORD that brings life. You know, it’s not just conviction of sin, but it’s the fear of the LORD that made all of us cry out, “God help me, God forgive me!” It is really true that it’s the fear of the LORD that brings life. And here’s what you need to understand, you and I would have never feared the LORD in this way apart from the rescue and empowerment and illuminate of His grace.
How is it that grace operate? It produces a greater fear of God than fear of anything else in our lives that draws us to Him in love and worship and surrender and confession and rest and hope and courage. My prayer is that the fear of the LORD would be the dominant thing in our hearts driving us to Him and causing us to live in a way that brings glory to Him.