Something has been on my mind for a couple of months. There is a sentence that is repeated in several places in scripture. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Psalm 111:10a is just one place you can find this statement.
Doesn't it seem that wisdom is sorely lacking? And I am not speaking of "the world" -- I am speaking of the Church of Jesus Christ. I am deeply grieved to say that it seems far too many who call themselves "Christians" are weak, apathetic, complacent, and (frankly) behaving in foolish ways.
Is this because we have lost our fear of God?
I find very differing views on this. Here is one, from Duke University Chapel's" Weekly E-Reflection" (Friday, January 27, 2006) :
“Fear of the Lord” is knowing God in a personal and real way; “fear of the Lord” is having faith. Knowing God and knowing who we are with God is also to understand that the fears which assail us everyday are not truly in control of us."
I like this. But is it enough?
Here is another, from a Rev. Copeland (no relation to Kenneth), "We are exhorted to work out our own salvation with 'fear and trembling' but trembling in relationship to God is certainly out of fashion."
Is 'fear" simply "respect" (as I heard preached all my life)? Just about every church person I know would say they respect God. Does this go far enough?
I'm working on a sermon on this, but I'd greatly appreciate comments. I'll share some more of my own thoughts as they become a bit more clarified.