Some years ago, Anne Graham Lotz was a guest at a prayer luncheon at the invitation from the President of the United States. The President told her, “The beginning of wisdom is tolerance.” Anne Graham Lotz responded, “No, Mr. President. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The President turned red faced, walked away and did not speak to her again. She was never again invited to come back to any such function.
What Anne Graham Lotz was declaring was the truth that she knew from the Word of God. When the Bible speaks of “the fear of the Lord”, it is referring to a profound reverence and awe toward God. It is identified by a feeling of respect and wonder to the power of God.
Something occurs to a nation, a people, a church when they lose their sense of respect and awe and reverence to the awesomeness of God.
In the Bible we read of the nation of Israel, who when obeying the Lord, were successful and blessed in everything. Yet when they defiantly disobeyed the Lord’s commandments, they invited the fear of man to come upon them. This was exposed by their defeat and the conquest that came from surrounding pagan nations. With no fear of God…..they could only fear men.
When people love themselves more than God, narcistic thought and actions rule.
When churches hold to the holy reverence that is due to the Lord, manifold blessings follow. Yet if we should relinquish or abandon our fear of God, then respect and honor to Him that is fitting, is obfuscated. A church, as with any people demonstrating such behavior, will be indistinguishable from the world, of which the church is to stand apart.
Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do his commandments. His praise endures forever.”
Remember church, that the fear of men brings a snare. (Proverbs 29:25) But, “the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.” (Proverbs 14:27)