Today: Proverbs 15:31-33; Proverbs 16:1-7; Acts 19:14-41; 1 Kings 22

Proverbs 15-16

“The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.” Proverbs 15:33

“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.” Proverbs 16:6

Over and over again, Jesus encouraged us to “be not afraid.” Don’t be afraid of life’s storms (Matt. 8:26). Don’t be afraid of people who hate you (Matt. 10:26). Don’t be afraid of not having enough (Matt. 10:31, Luke 12:32). Don’t be afraid of sickness (Luke 8:50). Don’t be afraid of troubles (John 14:27). Don’t be afraid of death (Matt. 10:31, Mark 5:36)

Jesus did not want us to be fearful people. This is clear from His words and actions. I find this so comforting.

But Jesus also told us, there is only ONE “whom you should fear; fear Him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes I tell you, fear Him.” (Luke 12:5) Although Jesus did not want us to be afraid of anything else, He DID strongly advise us to fear GOD.

So many times I have heard people explain away this troublesome “fear of the LORD” phrase that inconveniently pops up all over the Bible. It doesn’t mean to be afraid, they say, it means to have respect or awe. I have made this very same argument myself, in this blog, repeatedly.

But God has lately been teaching me more about this “fear of the LORD” thing. I think I was wrong before.

Every single time God spoke directly or through angelic beings in both the Old and New Testaments, the people were terrified — fall on their face, quaking in fear, pee in their pants TERRIFIED. I now believe that this is the only proper response when we encounter the Almighty God of the Universe. I think we do NOT have that response today because our culture has become collectively arrogant. We have built up our Tower of Babylon high enough that we are no longer awed by Creation.

I now believe that the “fear of the LORD” means exactly that. With fear of the LORD comes wisdom, peace, humility, honor, and purity. We do not have much of any of those things today because we do not fear God.

I believe God will not suffer our foolish vanity forever. At some point our towers WILL come crashing down one way or another. And then us silly humans will once again understand this ‘fall on our faces, quaking in fear, pee in our pants fear of the LORD.’

Acts 19

It always ends up being about money… In Asia, a group of craftsmen who made silver shrines of the goddess Diana, protested against Paul because his Christian message was bad for business. Things got crazy, people rioted, and “the whole city was filled with confusion.” (v.29) A mob gathered and seized some of Paul’s companions. “Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together.” (v.32) When Alexander tried to “make his defense to the people,” they wouldn’t listen to him but kept shouting “great is Diana of the Ephesians!” for two hours.

Sound familiar? It should. We’ve been watching versions of this in cities across our country for the past seven years. God is not the author of confusion. So guess who is instigating the insanity. (hint: not God)

Good for the city clerk who calmly reasoned with the crowds and dismissed them. Sometimes it only take one calm, rational voice of leadership to quiet down the crazy. Wish we had more of that now.

"Man Crying" by Ryan Louder

1 Kings 22

Maybe this shouldn’t be my response, but Ahab just makes me laugh. He was such a petulant whiner.

King Jehoshaphat knew that Ahab’s prophets were just blowing smoke when they said God would give them victory if they fought against Ramoth Gilead. These prophets were paid shills, hired only to tell tickle King Ahab’s ears. When Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?” (v.7) Ahab answered that there was “still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah… but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” (v.8) waah waaaahhh!

King Jehoshaphat was appalled! He replied, “Let not the king say such things!” LOL

Micaiah boldly spoke the truth as the LORD told him. Ahab would fall at Ramoth Gilead. Poor Micaiah was imprisoned and given nothing but bread and water for his trouble. But every word of his prophecy came true. As did Elijah’s prophesies. And the dogs licked up Ahab’s blood after he died.