The fear of God – reverence and esteem for Him – is the starting place, the beginning, of real personal growth. Since God alone knows all things and spans all of time, including our future, what better recourse do we have than to go to the very Source of knowledge for guidance in our issues of life? Knowing that God is smarter than we are, however, doesn’t give us the wisdom we need. Even the devil experienced full view of God’s greatness. Benefit comes from standing in awe of Him.
When we treasure God and His word, we are able to receive His precepts with the right attitude. We are not tempted to manipulate concepts to fit our own way of thinking. We obey what He says, thereby receiving the blessings of His infinite knowledge and provision.
Conversely, those who do not stand in reverent awe of God fall into a pit of their own making. Rejecting admiration and honor of God, they, by default esteem self. To elevate self is to put it above God. From this position, self is revered. Self with its insatiable desires becomes greedy. It is the result of drawing from the wrong source. Trying to be wise outside of God‘s truth will inevitably lead to error and confusion about life and spiritual things. But, people who already perceive themselves as right do not desire to seek guidance for their lives or eternity. They have no pursuit of God, no inner drive to stand in awe of Him, no yearning to revere Him, no urge to fear Him. This is why it is it often takes setbacks to create a need that will provoke people to pursue God‘s grace and help. Sometimes, self and its greed is the source of that setback.
Verse 19 says, “so are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain it takes away the life of its owners.” When greed attempts to elevate self, it lays a net for others so that their failings become apparent. “Capturing others,” however, is the elimination of valuable resources. This is the way greed ensnares the greedy. Friends are ostracized. Beneficial connections are built. Relationships designed for joy are neglected. Self-centered plans crumble as one is insufficient for the load while plans built with a network of others flourish. Putting on a one-man show is exhausting, but having stage hands, light and sound directors, and prop organizers can empower stunning spotlight moments.
With personal success as the focus, greed cares little about others’ needs. And it certainly doesn’t embrace the fear of the Lord. Boasting of self, it never realizes it is a fool whose inflated ego is disdained. It doesn’t see that it rejects the very thing it hoped to gain, accolades of having done well.
Failing to fear the Lord results in rejection of Him. Rejecting Him results in utter aloneness and spiritual silence when a word of direction is needed the most. The fear of God, however, inspires taking hold of His hand and following His way, thereby avoiding self-made pitfalls. His guidance leads into the blessed life and provides steadfast hope through the troubles that befall mankind.
Honoring God and standing in awe of Him is the birthplace of wisdom. It is our first wise choice and the foundation upon which all other successes are built. The fear of the Lord, then, is the beginning of blessing, for as we reach toward the God of Heaven, the only place we can go is up.
Tip/Tidbit: Are there areas in your life where you are fully focused on self? Do you find yourself contemplating your abilities, resources, and gifts more than meditating on the wonder of God? I know I often do. I can become incredibly entangled with life and my roles in it. Today, I want to re-focus on God and stand in true amazement of Him. Care to join me?