Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I’ve often wrestled with this notion of “fear of the Lord”. Am I supposed to be afraid of God? It seems to me there is an element of trepidation included here. Particularly in the Old Testament, there is a connection between one’s faithfulness to God and one’s experience of blessings. Conversely, there is suffering and loss for those who ignore the ways of God. The “blessings and curses” discourse of Deuteronomy 28 comes to mind.
Then I think of Jesus’ invitation to know God as “abba”. There is an intimacy, a familiarity inherent in Jesus’ words that appeal to me greatly. I don’t want to fear God, I want to embrace God, seek God. Yet this passage in Provers challenges me this morning. I suppose is not either/or, but both/and. This morning I’m thinking, “How can I respect/fear God and embrace God as “abba” at the same time?”
Gracious God, I’m a bit confused/unsettled this morning. Give me grace to discern your will for my relationship with you. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.