WISDOM LOST…THE FEAR FACTOR

 

If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, then it is clear that wisdom is lost. We are living in a time when every man does what seems right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6) God is not only not feared, but He is detested, reviled and disdained. Those who claim to be aligned with Him are labeled the enemy or even worse, mentally ill. In case you haven’t noticed, the body of Christ is under attack. 

What has changed? How has such a dramatic turn happened? If we look to Scripture, it becomes abundantly clear. When you lose the fear of the Lord you remove all wisdom. When you lose the fear of the Lord you invite chaos to fill that void. Even to Christians, fearing God seems a thing of the past. For the last couple of decades, we wanted to make our all-powerful, all mighty God a very nice and approachable God instead. We wanted the God who created the expanse of all galaxies and the earth we live in, to be our buddy that we can hang out with. We wanted a God that we were familiar with. The problem with familiarity is that it breeds contempt. 

Jesus said in Mark 6:3-5 “Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.”

Because of their familiarity they did not believe. In fact, they were indignant. This very thing has happened in the world. Even those in the church take offense at things in scripture. They believe the parts they like and discard the ones they don’t. This same diluted approach asks why would we want a God that we fear? Why would we embrace such a thought?

To answer that, you must first know what the fear of God is and why you need it. Fear is audaciously just that. Fear. Ministers shy away from the fact that fear means fear. We like to put the emphasis on how it is also awe and reverence. I grew up in a home where my dad is known as the one who loves everyone. Every person I know who meets my dad says the same thing. “I love your dad.” And I reply, “Me too.” His nature is one of grace, long suffering and abundant mercy. All of these are characteristics of our Heavenly Father. But there are other character traits my dad has that also mimic my Heavenly Father. He is fiercely brave and unafraid. He would fight any devil naturally and spiritually. When pushed, he is a force of strength and might. He served in the United States Army and understands what fighting is all about. Growing up, I knew you don’t mess with dad! And I was grateful for having him be like that. I felt safe and secure whenever dad was there.

Well I don’t know about you but in times like this I need a God that fights battles and wins. I need a God that the enemy is afraid of. I need a God that keeps my road clear, straight and narrow, for that is what leads to life. Matthew 7:14 “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” I don’t need a God that I simply make sure to be quiet around or respect from a distance. I don’t need a Father who winks at my sin and doesn’t teach me how to live and survive in this world. I need a God that is infinitely bigger, stronger and smarter than I am. One that can control the elements when I need Him too. One that fights battles on my behalf and wins. One that insures I get where I’m supposed to go. I don’t need a mamsy pamsy weak and helpless God who just goes around saying nice things to everyone. I want a God that I can say “You don’t mess with Him.”

Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” It’s literally the beginning. You don’t pass go or collect $200 dollars without it. Proverbs is replete with wisdom. But it must be laid hold of in order to produce. One must seek wisdom as if for treasure. One must seek council and lean on those whose lives have proved their words. Multiple times we are taught to head to the instruction of our father. Here is what scripture says.

Proverbs 1:20-29

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
    she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall[a] she cries out,
    at the city gate she makes her speech:

22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
    How long will mockers delight in mockery
    and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
    Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
    I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
    and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
    and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
    I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
    when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
    when distress and trouble overwhelm you.

28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.

That, my friends, is something to be afraid of. The God I serve has all power. I don’t get to choose the way I want to do it. I get to choose who I follow. 

We shouldn’t be surprised. We have raised a generation of children who mock their parents, refuse instruction and are praised for it. This is shameful. We are reaping what we have sown as a society. Our music, television and media defy all wisdom and instruction. We let a carnal godless world indoctrinate our children because we didn’t want to rebuke them. Now we are upset that they won’t listen to reason and stop their out of control behavior. What we need is to regain our fear of the Lord. We need to repent and follow His instructions and gladly listen to His rebukes. He has given them not because He is a tyrant, but because He loves us. He cares what happens to us. He knows what lies ahead if we refuse.

I challenge you today. Bravely look at how you see God. Do you have a right fear of the All Mighty? Or is he so familiar that you can disregard what He has said? If we want to see change, we must be changed. Our lives, our families and our country will not be affectively impacted without it. We need the fear of God. We need to remember who He is and what He can do. We need a revival!

Blessings to you and yours,

Jaime Luce

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THE VALLEY OF DECISION

man wearing red hoodie standing near body of water with view of mountains
Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com

Decisions, decisions. In the words of Joel the prophet, “Multitudes, Multitudes in the valley of decision.” Most decisions are small and are made every day almost without thought. Then there are those that we find ourselves running from or wrestling with that keep us up at night. These are the “valley decisions.” A valley is either the place where you are caught between a rock and a hard place with mountains on every side or a lost place. A place of confusion and disorientation.

The first time I read this passage in Joel 3 my heart sank at the thought of multitudes in a valley of decision. What will they do with Jesus? It both horrifies and compels me. The truth of that still sits with me but today to Lord showed me this passage from a different perspective. This does not nullify its meaning but opens another revelation.

Those who have already made the decision to follow Christ will still find themselves in valleys of decision. These decisions must be made but we see mountains on every side. Fear of the unknown hangs over us like a looming shadow. I have been in this valley several times and as I look back, I see two things it took to move out of the valley which are noted in Joel 3:10. He says, “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, “I am strong.’”

This picture expresses going from the daily routine to a posture of war. First, change your usual tools from routine to a weapon of purpose. You cannot continue as if nothing is different. There is a season for plowing and pruning back. Then there is a season of advancing and taking new ground where you aren’t just plowing the same old ground over and over. Second, while in the valley you may feel small, weak and ill-equipped but you are not to make decisions based on how you feel. You must say “I am strong.” We must not let fear lead. Faith must lead the charge. Gideon, in Judges 6 is a great example. He was threshing wheat in fear, but the angel called him a mighty man of valor signifying he was a warrior not a thresher. He needed different tools and faith instead of fear.

Once we have warred for direction we must charge forward in faith. The just shall live by faith. We cannot remain in a valley of decision. Our indecision is a decision and double mindedness will only take you in circles. This was the case for the children of Israel in the wilderness. They said they wanted to go to the promised land but feared and had no faith seeing themselves as grasshoppers against giants. This led to a 40-year journey of going in circles until Joshua led the faith charge forward.

The good news for those who belong to Jesus is that every valley has a river running through it. He is our source of strength and refreshing. If we will get in the river his current will carry us to the right destination.

Scripture references:

Joel 1-3

Judges 6

Psalm 23 explains this. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Jaime Luce