August 12, 2008
Fearing the Father
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Faith Editor
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (proverbs 9:10, NIV).
Many of my best, deepest thoughts come as I'm just rousing from sleep. This morning was no exception, although I was no fan of the circumstances that were involved.
Five-year-old Jordan, as usual, got out of bed before anyone else was up. It was still dark. We're trying to teach him that he's not to leave his room until the clock reads 7:00, but he's very attached to his dad, and on most mornings I'm already gone to the gym by the time he wakes, and he doesn't really dig that. So sometimes he will wander out and see if I'm still home. If I am, he likes to crawl under the covers with me. And that's cool - good father/son bonding time and all (though his mother often shares her feelings about these times non-verbally with varying grunts and roll-overs).
This morning, however, Jordan did not lay there peacefully. Nor was he chatty, as he sometimes can be. No, instead, as I lay with my head propped up, somewhere between thinking about the shower and more snoozing, he began to roll around on me. Then pinch my cheeks. Eventually he moved on to tugging at my beard. About the time his fingers were in my nose I thought, "This boy hasn't yet begun his journey to wisdom; I'm about to crush him like a grape."
And immediately, a light bulb went off in my spirit. I always wondered about this concept of "fearing" God. I mean, doesn't He love us? So much? Doesn't He love to provide for me, and teach me? Why does he want us to fear Him? And how does that make me wise?
Well, it's like what Jordan was doing to me - a father who loves him. So much. Provides for him. And teaches him. But oh did I want him to fear me this morning. And oh did I know that doing so would help him grow in wisdom (and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52)).
I knew that God doesn't like it when we don't take Him seriously. When we play inappropriate, unwise games with Him. Treat him like He is ours instead of like we are His. When we don't understand the might, power, and magnificence we are dealing with. He could crush us like grapes.
Of course He doesn't. Just like I did not crush my son. The lesson this morning was for me. Later - wisely - I will address this concept of waking time with my son firmly. But I gained insight into a concept that has always jangled around unfixed in my head. We all have our own questions about the nature of this wonderful God. Jordan himself is struggling right now with part of his own God-concept, because he doesn't much care for the song "Jesus Loves Me." You see, it says that we little ones "are weak," but "He is strong." Jordan doesn't like that. He informed me recently, "No - I am strong!" as he flexed his little muscles and made his "mean face."
But I have total faith he'll "get it" soon enough. Or maybe it will take him 37 years, like it took me to nail down this facet of what "fearing God" is about. "Knowledge of the Holy One is understanding," after all. Indeed, and Amen.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Compare and contrast your own deepest fear to the awe, might, and magnificence of the Holy Father. How does it stack up?