August 18, 2009
“Anger, Fear and Pots of Geraniums!”
Part 1 on “The Fear of the Lord is a Treasure”
Isaiah 33: 5, 6 ". . . Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times, and strength of salvation: The fear of the Lord is his treasure"
I was three and a half years old. We had just escaped internment by the Japanese on the Island of Sumatra during W.W. II. We had dodged submarines for three months on the high seas. And now, America was very new to me, so different from the jungles, and perplexing. Mother and Daddy had rented a small apartment with glossy, polished floors. We were near to Grandma and Grandpa’s home. I remember bursting in the door, eyes blazing with excitement at what I had discovered outdoors when my mother put her finger up to her mouth and whispered, “SHhhhhhhhhhh... I’m so sorry Sweetheart, but we need to be very quiet because Mrs. So-and-So, downstairs, does NOT like the noise of children’s feet!”
Oh, I had heard daddy and mother say it so often. I had just forgotten, and anyway, why was this old lady so peculiar!! I longed for the jungles where I could run and play as loudly as I liked. But this was once too many times. I turned around and banged the screen door loudly behind me. Angrily I sped down the long verandah, catching glimpses of bright red geraniums in clay pots. They beckoned me to shove them over the edge, into the courtyard below. What a lovely racket they would make! I stood at the top of the stairs, and the geraniums sat perched on every other step leading to the garden. An angry impulse rushed into me to push every one of them over the edge. I stood poised to do the deed. And then, a Presence stood beside me. It was not my mother. It was not the landlady. I was alone. All it would take was a good shove, several of them, and I would feel so much better. But no. The fear of the Lord came upon me. He restrained me from carrying out my wicked thoughts. It is my earliest memory of His Presence. He didn’t scare me. He was simply there. A holy Presence. I chose to obey. The part that I remember so vividly was the war that took place inside my little heart, and then the peace that followed my choice.
Would that I had always made the right choice to obey! I did discover though that He enrolls his children into His “School of the Fear of the Lord,” if they really want to learn. He has paid the tuition. We just need to want to learn, choose to learn, and take the tests. In this School I learned that the fear of the Lord led me to obey Him. This in turn led me to love Him, in the same way that a child who obeys his parents becomes close to them.
What are we to do in times like these? Do we fear the Lord in such a way that we care more about what He thinks, and end up loving Him more? Or do we fear the world in such a way that we care what the world thinks and end up loving the world more?
We usually think of “perfect love casting out fear.” We all believe that God is Love. But then why are we so full of fears when we know God loves us? Could it be that we don’t truly fear God because we aren’t obeying Him?
How do we prepare ourselves for the days ahead, the very thought of which strikes terror into some hearts. Some of us are immobilized and full of fears at what the future may hold for us and our families.
How do we prepare our children and grandchildren?
The children of Issachar were men that had an “Understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”
“Understanding the times has more to do with interpreting the known than seeing the unknown.” ~ George Otis, Jr. In “The Last of the Giants”
The word, “Understanding” in the Hebrew is “binah” meaning “insight”, and the root word “byn” is “to distinguish, to separate.” Both are used synonymously with Old Testament words for “WISDOM”.
In times like these, if we are to “understand the times,” we need wisdom. And the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We are told in Proverbs 1:29 that those who refused to respond to correction “hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord.” The fear of the Lord is an act of choosing (involving the will) and not an emotional response of fear. We choose to turn from pleasing others primarily to please God. Just imagine! We can actually please God! We can give Him pleasure!
The fear of the Lord can overcome the fear of man, the fear of circumstances that explode in our faces, the fear of loss of security, the fear of death, the fear of what our society is doing to our children, the fear of what our relatives think, even the fear of the demonic.
Learning to fear the Lord is going to be KEY. It is the key to our joy. It is the key to our understanding. It is the key to wisdom. It is the key to our inheritance! So I want to talk about The Fear of the Lord in this next series.