August 13, 2021

Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom (Proper 20b)

 This quote from Psalm 111.10 could be a summary of the whole Old Testament. Whenever the rulers and people submitted to the will of God things went well and whenever they failed to submit to the will of God things went very badly. Fear has more than one interpretation. Some churches have sadly used fear of eternal punishment to frighten and control people. A better interpretation is fear in the sense of fearing the loss of:

  • Our love relationship with God 
  • Covenant of forgiveness, Holy Spirit and eternal life. 
  • Holy Spirit giving us a life of wisdom 
  1. Holy Spirit Gives Us a Life of Wisdom

The Readings (1 Kings 2.10-12, 3.3-14) begin with the story of King Soloman's dream of asking God for wisdom. King Soloman was a young man who had just inherited all Israel. He  realized the danger he was in from plots, assassins and betrayals and cried out for help:

  • God had blessed Him with wisdom on how to deal with his older brother and co-conspirators - death / banishment
  • God was so pleased with his request for wisdom He added wealth and power
  • In Christian baptism we receive the cleansing we need for the Holy Spirit to come , live in us and give us wisdom
  • The Gospel teaches us the Holy Spirit comes to all who believe in Jesus
  • “…whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them.”
  • This is what we mean by having an eternal spiritual ‘life in Christ”

2. “Be careful how you live”

The Apostle Paul is warning new Christians that they must be wise because “the days are evil”. Contrary to our secular post-truth liberal culture bad things happen both naturally and supernaturally. Satan and the demonic are not just mythical. and evil as bad things happening because of evil spirits. Life is dangerous. I like to think of this life as boot camp or a training exercise for our glorious heavenly life:

  • Sins separate us from God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and pollute our spiritual life. 
  • Best spiritual defence is an effective spiritual offence
    • Sing and make music - those who sing pray twice
    • Singing, praise & thanksgiving fill us with Holy Spirit

3. Submit and have reverence for each other

We get into trouble when we try to get our own way and to manipulate and control others. Jesus modeled agape or self-sacrificial love in dealing with others. We need to remember who we are and whose we are:

  • We are all made in the image or likeness of God:
    • We are all to be a sign of the glory of God
    • There is no limit to the glory of God
    • When we reject our identity we rebel against God
    • Example of child told by postman she would “never amount to anything” (a curse, she believed the lie and lived the lie until she repented, confessed and received forgiveness at a healing workshop - was changed from radiating sadness to radiating joy as she saw and heard Jesus tell her her real identity)
  • We are all God’s beloved children:
    • God loves us more than our parents or anyone else
    • Song “I have a Father” generally wipes me out
    • Do we really want to harm a child of God? - how would you do explaining that to Jesus when you die?
    • Wisdom teaches us to treat others, especially our Husbands, wives and children as beloved children of God
  • People who live in a healthy and real fear of the Lord treat others with the same agape / self-giving love Jesus modeled:
    • It is not loving to let others abuse or manipulate us
    • Wisdom balances love of God, self and others

No comments:

Post a Comment