Intro: Oswald Chambers, a famous 20th century evangelist and teacher, once said, “The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” According to the Wisdom Book of Proverbs, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom—knowledge of the Holy One is true understanding (1:7; 9:10).
The fear of the Lord is a response to being loved by God and coming into right relationship with him. When we actually come to know God’s grace and holiness, the proper response is one of awe, reverence, gratitude, obedience [turning from sin], and living a life that exalts His name. Rejecting God’s Word sets a person and even the nations of the world up for ruling in ignorance, living in unrighteous chaos, and most importantly standing guilty before God who will judge us according to his Word (John 1:1-5). God has exalted His Word above all things, so dismissing or rejecting His Word is extremely foolish; such a decision to hinder the Word would lead people to live ignorant of God’s penalty for sin—death (Ro 6:23).
In 1960, atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair was the plaintiff in a lawsuit that was focused on prohibiting Bible reading—God’s Word—in the Baltimore public schools on the grounds that it was an unconstitutional activity. In 1963, that case was consolidated (Supreme Court) with the ban on prayer in public schools, Bible reading, and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Ms. O’Hair had no fear of the Lord; therefore, she feared everything else thinking it diminished her freedom and autonomy, as well as the freedom and autonomy of others. Her lawsuit brought her notoriety, but she was deceived and her efforts inspired by evil.
In our passage today, we see how essential the fear of the Lord is to humanity’s ability to please God and receive his grace and blessings. With obedience to Christ [the Living Word], our minds receive the knowledge of God, our souls prosper in righteousness, our children are godly and successful, our integrity is visible in our personal and business dealings, we face our enemies without fear, we lovingly care for one another out of gratitude for the provision of God, and our lives are protected and delivered by grace from evil. By honoring and trusting God, we become the Light of God’s love in the darkness! God is good and those who trust in him know this as Truth; continue to hold fast to the Word of God. Pray for our country and the world, because it is impossible to depose God from his rightful place as Ruler and Judge of all things in heaven and on earth! (Mat 28:18). To try to hinder or rebel against the authority of his Word would be terribly unwise.
Psalm 112 NLT
Praise the Lord!
How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands.
Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.
They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever.
Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly.
Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered.
They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.
They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.
The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the influence you bestow upon your children who have a right relationship with you. May we speak the truth in love knowing people need to know you. Help us as believers to shine brightly in your integrity for the honor of your name. Amen.