The Fear of the Lord- Proverbs Week 1- Day 1

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  

Proverbs 1:7

Explanation:

This verse is the foundational principle of the entire book of Proverbs.  The word “fear” has the idea of moral reverence, but does include dread or being scared.  One who understands the potential of the Lord has a reverent awe, and even a dread of Him knowing their own sinfulness.  The word translated Lord is the transliterated yehovah.  It means “self-Existent or eternal”, and is one of the most used names of God, showing up 6,521 times in the Old Testament.. 

Notice that the fear of the Lord is the result of special revelation.  The fear of the Lord is confirmed by natural revelation in this way.  When someone looks at the world they could come to the conclusion that something or someone more powerful than ourselves must have caused all of what we see in creation.  Yet, there is no fear of Jehovah God without knowledge of Him specifically.  We could not properly understand who Jehovah God is without His self-disclosure.  He had to reveal Himself to us.  In His amazing grace He has revealed Himself to us.  This is what Solomon says is the beginning of knowledge.  It is a right, reverent, and fearful response to God’s revelation about Himself. 

The Word “beginning” doesn’t just speak to chronology but also to priority.  One does not rightly understand themselves or the world around them properly until they take on God’s view of the World.  “What the alphabet is to reading, notes to reading music, and numerals to mathematics, the fear of the Lord is to attaining the revealed knowledge of this book.” (Waltke)

There is a contrast to the beginning of the statement.  Those that properly grow in knowledge begin with the fear of the Lord, but the contrasting person is the fool.  The attitude of the fool towards wisdom and instruction (also special revelation from God) is that He despises these things.  There is no reverence for the Lord.  There is a lack of fear.  

Application:

The fundamental question of so much of the book of Proverbs is the question that could be surmised from this verse.  Which person am I going to be?  Am I going to be wise, fearing the Lord and therefore caring most for his view of me?  Am I going to adopt his revealed word both in understanding and in obedience?  Or am I going to be the fool who despises wisdom and instruction?

Response:

Where do you need God’s wisdom and instruction in your life today?

Bibliography

Waltke, Bruce K. New International Commentary on the Old Testament: Proverbs. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004. E Sword Software.

Romans- Week 14- Day 5- Romans 15:33

Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.   

Romans 15:33

Explanation:

After finishing his list of prayer requests, Paul ends what seems to be the teaching portion of this book with a prayer for them.  He prayed that the God of peace would be with all of them.  Of course this title of God would have been profound to the attentive reader of the letter, because they now saw God as the one who brought peace specifically by the blood of His Son.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  (10)  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  (11)  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.   

Romans 5:9-11

God had made the positionally at peace with Him because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We now can experience the presence of the God of peace, and this is exactly what Paul prayed for them.

Application:

In the midst of difficulty and trial, those who know Christ as Savior can experience God’s peace.  Philippians 4 tells us how to pursue peace:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  (7)  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.   

Phillipians 4:6-7

The Child of God can experience the peace of God through time spent in the presence of God.  We can strive for peace on our knees.

Response:

Are you in need of God’s peace today? 

If you don’t know Christ, admit your sin and call on Him as Savior to save you!

If you know Christ as Savior, strive for peace on your knees!

Romans- Week 14- Day 4- Romans 15:30-32

Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;  (31)  That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;  (32)  That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.

Rom 15:30-32 

Explanation:

Paul begins his final conclusion of the letter by asking the local church at Rome for prayer. He prays for them to strive with him in prayer, saying that he is already praying for the requests for which he is about to ask. He asks for prayer regarding his relationships with three specific groups of people.

1. “Those who do not believe in Judaea”- There were many people in and around Jerusalem and Judea which saw the Gospel of Jesus Christ as heretical and a threat to their position and power in Judaism. Much of the church was scattering from Jerusalem because of persection there. Paul was asking for freedom from them so that he could make it eventually to Rome and beyond.

2. The saints in Jerusalem- Paul’s desire was that the gift and ministry that he was taking to Jerusalem would be accepted by those in Christ that were there.

3. Church at Rome- Paul prayed that He would make it to Rome and that He and they would be used to refresh together upon his arrival.

It is interesting that these three groups all had an effect on Gospel. There were those who would hinder the gospel mission that Paul prays to be delivered from. Then there were those who he wanted to minster to and partner with that would help the Gospel to be advanced.

Application:

Prayer is essential for effective Gospel ministry. It is right and proper for leaders to ask for people to pray. It is essential that leaders pray themselves. We should pray for deliverance from those who would hinder Gospel proclamation. We should also pray for partnership with fellow believers to proclaim God’s Word.   Of course we should also pray for the lost, those who have not heard, that the Gospel would be proclaimed to them.

Response:

Take some time to pray for the Gospel to be advanced today by your life and around the world.

Romans- Week 14- Day 3- Romans 15:20-21

Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:  (21)  But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.   

Romans 15:20-21

Explanation:

Paul has been describing God’s calling on his life as a proclaimer of the Gospel to the gentiles as the rationale for writing this letter to a church he did not found and had not met.  As he writes these verses he declares his desire to preach the Gospel where Christ was previously unknown.  His desire and calling was to be a pioneer, proclaiming the Gospel where it had previously not been spoken.  He quotes Isaiah 52:15, which says,

So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Isaiah 52:15 

This passage in Isaiah is speaking of the “suffering servant”, Jesus Christ, who will come and “sprinkle many nations”.  Just as the blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant to cleanse the people of their sins, so the coming of Jesus would provide the opportunity for cleansing to the gentile nations of the earth.  Isaiah prophesied these gentile kings will see and consdier what had not been revealed to them before. 

We know that Paul had the opportunity to preach Christ to gentile kings.  Paul’s preaching to the gentiles had begun the fulfillment of this prophecy.  God’s intention to save the gentiles that had been prophecied was being fulfilled through Paul, and is being fulfilled by missionary efforts throughout the nations.

Application:

Paul’s responsibility and calling may be different than ours in scope, but not necessarily in substance.  God has called us to proclaim the Gospel to ever creature.  We have a responsibility to those who have never heard.

Response:

Are you involved in the missions program of your church, giving so that people who have never heard may have local, new testament, Gospel preaching churches established to disciple people in places where the Gospel has not been proclaimed?

Are you involved in shareing the Gospel where you are?  Who do you need to tell today?