Friday, July 20, 2012

The fear of God (Proverbs 9:10) is the beginning of great wisdom ... with a story from The Chronicles of Narnia as well as a quote from William Gurnall.

SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 9:10 (TM)
Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God, insight into life from knowing a Holy God.

In The Chronicles of Narnia, an allegory by C.S. Lewis, the author has two girls, Susan and Lucy, getting ready to meet Aslan the lion, who represents Christ. Two talking animals, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, prepare the children for the encounter. "Ooh," said Susan, "I thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion." "That you will, dearie,” said Mrs. Beaver. "And make no mistake, if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knee's knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."
"Then isn't he safe?" said Lucy. "Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king, I tell you!" 

We take too casually our relationship with God. The Bible speaks of the “fear-of-God” factor as the beginning of true wisdom. Fear means to tremble before as well as to hold in awe. It is a wise person who does both.

I love the The Chronicles of Narnia. In fact I was known for using the books in this series as well the early videos of these stories as a vehicle to understand God and our relationship with him during my confirmation classes. In Dr. Lewis’ writing we find great insight and something that everyone can understand. The wisdom of Mr. Beaver’s understanding of Aslan is right on: “… safe? Of course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.” The power and majesty of God, the judgment and rule of God, the authority and scope of God is so strong that we should tremble before him. And yet, through Jesus we also discover that he is a loving and caring God … he is good and quite safe.

It is that pull between good and safe vs. strong and mighty that catches us. The beginning point is the tremble-before-fear factor and that can lead to healthy understanding of the latter. If we want a “safe” life then we should avoid a relationship with God because in that relationship we will find ourselves thinking differently, acting differently and relating to others differently. In short, we will be behaving in ways that we would never consciously choose in a more sane moment. But that is the way God acts. Further, it isn’t safe, but he has the power to eliminate our life if he would choose to do so. Safe? Hardly … but his grace, mercy and love are the stronger motivating factors as he relates to his human creation.

We should never assume that because of Christ we can “buddy-up” to God after all he is God, the all powerful and mighty. And so we approach his throne with fear and trembling. And guess what, God will begin to ask us to do things that we cannot do … which is exactly the point. If we could do them then we wouldn’t need God, but if we accept the challenge we have to trust God to get them accomplished and great things for the Kingdom will be accomplished much to our amazement. Therein lies the insight to living.

As we seek to live out our days in a relationship with you, Almighty God, may we do it in a healthy fear of just who you are and what you can do. And then, may we trust you for the outcome of our life as we attempt, through your Holy Spirit, to accomplish all the impossible tasks that you place before us.

QUOTE by William Gurnall:
We fear men so much because we fear God so little.

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