“I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one comes to the Father
except through Me”
Pastors Noreen & Henry Kevern
The Beginning Of Wisdom
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding.
To Him belongs eternal praise.
Fear. Some people hear fear the Lord and do not understand why you would fear Him. Others simply figure that if you have to fear God then why bother fear someone or something that could harm you. Fear goes much deeper than being afraid. Fear of the Lord is fearing His awesomeness, His glory, to walk in His ways, to love Him, to serve Him with all of your heart and all of your soul and all of your strength and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). In the Old Testament, people feared the Lord because once they had said that they would follow Him and His ways, God expected man to do what he said he would. But humans are an odd lot. God gave us the commandments so that we would not be in harm’s way or do things that could hurt us. The decree about mold and mildew, that’s to keep us from disease. The command about not committing adultery, that’s to keep pure marriage and to be faithful. The decree about being holy because God is holy, is for us to aspire to be more than we are, to desire to be like our Creator. The command about having no other gods is that God is a jealous God and feels we abandon Him when we worship other gods. Have you ever been abandoned by a spouse, a child, a job, your brother or sister or friend, or by your parent and felt the pain of abandonment? It hurts a lot. We fear the Lord and all that He is because He knows what is best for us and does not want us to come to no harm. We fear the Lord because of what will happen to us if we don’t fear Him and go about and follow the evil one or simply disbelieve in God. Fear keeps us from going to hell; it keeps us following the way of the Lord so that our lives are holy like His. Fear of the LORD also means that we worship Him and hold Him in the highest honor, putting Him first in every area of our lives. It is not about being afraid of GOD because He is love and love casts out all fear.
So we know that fear is the beginning of wisdom and that by following His precepts (His guidelines, His laws, His teachings) helps us to have a good understanding of Who God is and what God wants in our lives. This is a beginning and we are to go on and learn His precepts in order to follow them. A while back I told you about the acronym for BIBLE: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. The Bible is where we learn His precepts, His guidelines, His laws and His teachings. These are His instructions to us so that we can go to heaven. If we don’t take the time to learn them and to learn about God, why would you expect Him to let you enter heaven? If you break His commands, His guidelines, do you think that you should go to heaven?
I want to leave that question for a moment to go on to another part of this equation: A personal relationship with God. Let’s go back to the beginning, yes, all the way back to when God created the heavens and the earth. God creates a beautiful world and decides that He needs something more, a being with intelligence to subdue (to control and discipline, to tame, to calm down, to overcome and conquer) what God just created and to rule over it. God created us to be in charge of all that He made. God also walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. He talked with them. He loved them even though He knew what was in their hearts and minds. God hoped for the best for us, giving us free will to make our own choices, our own mistakes in hopes that we would learn. The trials started early. God plants a tree in the garden and tells Adam that he cannot eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil for he will surely die. God had told the man and woman to control, discipline, to tame, to calm down, to overcome and conquer all the things that He has created. Along comes the serpent (who is the devil, or Satan [Revelation 12:9; 20:2] that ancient serpent) and starts mixing up the words about the trees. First he asks if God said that they could not eat from any tree in the garden and Eve corrects him saying only the middle tree that they could not even touch it. It seems here the Adam didn’t give Eve the whole story about the tree, and in her inexperience with living, she is deceived by the devil and eats the fruit. Finding that it tastes good and feeling no ill effects she offers it to Adam who is sitting there in the garden with Eve. And bam! They see that they are naked! And so they covered themselves with fig leaves.
The reason I wanted to go back to the beginning is because I wanted you to see the problem when we take shortcuts. God wanted to walk with Adam and Eve and so teach them what they needed to know. Along came the devil and tricks them, just as he does today. We like to take shortcuts. We want it all now but that’s not what is supposed to be. We started out innocent, as a baby, not knowing good from evil, right from wrong and when the candy is dangled in front of us, we take the easy way out. But, we have to crawl before we can walk and we have to walk before we can run. A baby cannot run first because he has to go through stages in order to grow. When a baby comes, the first thing it knows to do is eat. It’s a basic survival skill. So the baby drinks milk. He can’t hold his own bottle, so mom has to hold it for him. He does not use a toilet yet, so mom has to change his diaper. He can’t even hold up his head by himself. But over time, the baby is able to hold his head up, hold his bottle, sits up, crawls, tries to stand and then finally walks! These simple processes take about a year. By this time, the baby knows simple words, Mama, Dada, Baba and such although at first they don’t know what it means but learns over time. Between 1 and 3 a baby is now a toddler, learning to run around, to jump up and down, to pick things up and put the square in the square spot, the circle in the circle spot and so on. He learns to put words together to make sentences. And so on down the line until they turn 18 and are an adult. So why do people think they can take a short cut on learning Who God is and what He wants in our lives? We as humans have to go through school and learn. We have to go through childhood, adolescence, and learn what it means to become an adult before becoming one.
Now let’s go back to fear. Have you ever watched a baby try to take the first step? They get brave and take the first step only to fall. Ouch! The next time they are not as brave, but eventually they take the next step. And what do they do in the meantime they practice, they stand on one foot, they move about in a circle using one foot, they hold on to the couch, taking their time until they feel that they are ready to try again. And you know what? Most babies will fall again. And you may fall as you learn to walk with the Lord, but He is there to help you get up and begin again.
So God created us to fear not knowing Him. He created us to take baby steps in learning about all the things that He wanted us to learn. But we took the easy way out. When someone truly wants to have a personal relationship with the Lord, he or she will take the time to get to know God and to learn from Him. We cannot use the excuse that we hear the Word at church and so we don’t need to take the time to read it on our own. But here’s something that you may not know. What you hear each week at church is only about 1/3 of the Bible. Just 1/3 and we never hear the other 2/3 so we are missing a lot. Reading the Scriptures should not be a chore; it should be your desire to know the Lord. This is the most important relationship that you can have and you should want to get it right. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. It’s time to put aside the easy way and learn the Word of the Lord. It’s going to take time and some of it is going to seem boring, but keep plugging away. Read for 15 minutes a day. There are Bibles out there where you can read the whole Bible in a year, or you can take more time. You can find a reading schedule online or ask someone to read with you and then discuss what you have read. You can join a Bible study group as well. There are many ways to learn to read the Bible. As I read my Bible, I like to write in my Bible. I take notes, jot down thoughts, or refer to other parts of the Scriptures so that my experience is full. I don’t know how many times I have read my Bible, but I keep on reading it. And if you have a learning disability, there are Bibles that are on a CD. My husband has dyslexia and has always had a very hard time reading. When he finally decided to try to read the Bible, I had him start with the Proverbs, they are easy and there is one for each day of the month. He found a desire to read the Word and now he has read it several times and continues each day to read the Word.
The point here is, the only way we are going to get knowledge, the knowledge that God wants us to have is to read it ourselves. And the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In the book of Revelation we read: “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:15-16). It’s our choice. God will not make you learn from Him. He will let you decide if He is worth your time. Overcome the excuses for not picking up the Bible and begin reading it. “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of My God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come (Revelation 3:1-3).
But before I end this, I want to give you some Good News. There is still time for you to change and begin again. It’s the New Year and there is no time like the present. Don’t be lukewarm; be on fire for the Lord. Surrender your life to the Lord and fear not knowing Him. Jesus came down here and died for your sins and for mine. Accept your Salvation and live it out in your life. Jesus said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it” (Luke11:28). If you put God first in your life, if you make Him your treasure, there is where your heart will be (Luke 12:34). “For if you do not repent and change your life you too will perish” (Luke 13:5). When Jesus talked about the end of this age here on earth, He said to be prepared and be a witness to others about Him. He warned us to watch, as no one knows the day or the hour, only the Father. Jesus said: “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen and that you many be able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).