The Fear of the Lord

Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.In 2 Samuel 23:3, David demonstrates the most essential quality of leadership: reverance for an authority greater than him.Throughout David’s rule, he exemlified the model of a great leader. Why? Because he had the fear of the Lord.A lot of Christians (and nonChristians alike) mistake the fear of the Lord to mean cowering in fear, absent of courage, timid and terrified. But when we talk about fearing God, we’re not talking about that wrong kind of fear. We’re talking about the reverential fear that causes us to bow in His presence, and even to prostrate ourselves, before Him and say, “My God, there is none like You; whom shall I fear? If you are for me, what can man do to me?”

Proverbs 9:10 says that the first step to wisdom is the fear of hte Lord. I’ve had problems with really understanding this before, and I’ve often interchanged the word ‘fear’ for the word ‘love.’

Truly, in this context, ‘fear’ is a verb which means ‘to surrender,’ to submit to and to serve.

Like a wolf rolling over on his back to expose his belly in surredner to the one he recognizes as alpha male, we must choose to be powerless, laying down all our defenses.

When we look at it from this lens, the Proverb now reads “surrendering yourself and rendering yourself powerless and prostrate before the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

And it’s true; we begin our walk of faith by surrendering our doubts, and we come into the Kingdom when we die to ourselves, surrending our bodies and spirit and plans for our lives to Him, and letting Him put us to death with Christ so we can be raised up with Christ.

The journey of wisdom begins with fear–an action, not a feeling. It’s the conscious decision to go low when God or other people raise you up. It’s the core value of this great and wonderful World we’ve been translated into by Jesus. Just look at the illustration of His life–He had everything, but He chose to go low and live poor for our sakes. Then, when it was His time of promotion back into the Kingdom as King of Heaven, He went even lower and died for us.

If you want to be promoted, give someone else more attention than you. If you want healing, pray for someone else to be healed. If you’re hungry, feed someone. If you need a friend, be one. If you’re hurting for finances, give some until it hurts some more.

Go low.

Fretting

Psalm 37:1 (AMP) – Fret not yourself because of evildoers, nor be envious against those who work unrighteousness (that which is not upright or in right standing with God).

In guitar terminology, when you clamp a capo on a fret, you increase the tension by making the strings shorter, which produces a higher sound and thus changes the key up however many half steps.

This verse speaks to me where it normally wouldn’t; beginning with “fret nor yourself,” I thought of myself as a guitar.

When I worry, stress, or get distracted or heated up about something, it takes me out of the key I was meant to play in, and also shortens my strings, limiting my range of play.

When I allow myself to become distressed by what I feel or see around me, I begin to work outside of my anointing, or my “key.” If you slapped a capo on a guitar in the middle of a song, but continued trying to play the song in the same key, the chords would likely be a lot more complex and difficult. Working outside your calling or anointing is truly exhausting for this very reason.

Feeding Ground: Faithfulness

Song of Songs 2:1 - I am a rose of sharon, a lily of the valleys

Edit: I would like to note that there is some verbage in here that needs to be clarified. Eventually, I will go back and revise this entire thing, but for now I would just like to point out that when I say something about God lifting His presence, I by no means am meaning to imply that God leaves us. He said to Moses, “I will never leave you nor forsake you; I will be with you to the ends of the earth.” When I speak of His presence lifting, I am speaking of it in the sense of what we physically feel and see around us. Throughout the Bible are scattered examples of when God physically came down to join His people, or through miracles or signs and wonders or His audible voice, He made Himself present. There are times when the physical presence of God is harder to find, and therefore must be practiced. And there are also seasons of dryness that He leads us into to train us to recognize the many different forms of how He speaks to us to demonstrate that He is indeed with us to the ends of the earth. 

Psalm 37:3 (AMP)– Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and be fed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.

When I have no strength, am weary, and need to rest, I will lean on Him because He won’t give out from under me. He will rest with me, He won’t walk ahead or move away. I can always trust Him because He is so secure.

My provision comes from Him, so I must rely on Him. My money, my shelter, my food, my transportation—my needs are provided for by Him, as a father to his child. As a daughter of the King, I have to throw off the spirit of independence and powerfully choose to be powerless in His presence, to make Him my sole provider. I look to Him to fight my battles, answer my questions, and feed my needs.

The thing that keeps me going is my confidence—agreement between body, heart, and Spirit—that He is faithful and everything He says He is. This confidence is justified. This confidence is hope. This is how I can say all that I do.

My ability and empowerment to do good and feed on His faithfulness is in direct correlation to my surrender and willingness to be in need of his faithfulness.

–In other words, His faithfulness can only be demonstrated in a circumstance where I am weak to stand and need something to learn on, when I have a need that will only be met if a miracle occurs, and where I have confidence that will only be justified if He shows up.

It’s more than the act of confessing my sins and circumstances, it’s the active application of casting all my cares onto Him so He can care for me.

These things, coupled with my ability to do good things, allows me not only to pass through the land, but to dwell in it. To me, that doesn’t just mean dwelling in the land of promise, of milk and honey and prosperity and favor and blessing and the heavy presence of God.

This speaks powerfully to me as meaning dwelling in the dry lands, in the hard times—the valleys where wells have run dry and blessing has lifted and God has lifted His hand.

In that land, the only thing I have to feed off of is what He’s done and who I know He is: Faithfulness. Testimony. Prophecy. Glistening hope.

You may ask, “Why would God send me to dwell in the desert land where I will feed only on His faithfulness?”

Because if you’re there, it’s because He led you there. If he led you there and then lifted His presence, it’s because His presence is not welcome there. If His presence is not welcome, it’s only because there are people there who have refused Him. But it doesn’t mean He’s turned His back, given up and walked away. He’s been molding you for such a time as this, building you up and packing you full of His presence, preparing you for the moment He sends you into the desert.

It’s not to punish you.

It’s so you can go into this place, undercover as a normal person, using your favor with God to gain favor with man, and calling gold out from the washed-out springs.

If God sent you somewhere dry, it’s because there’s somebody else out there who’s been stuck there a lot longer than you have, like the Israelites wandering around in the desert for 40 years when the trip was supposed to take 11 months.

In Song of Songs 2, the woman of the song refers to herself as a rose of sharon. I’ve heard that roses of sharon, known for their pleasant aroma, grow on rocky terrain where nothing else is supposed to grow. When the woman refers to herself in this passage as a rose of sharon, she’s saying “I am supernaturally precious. I have great value, and it’s not because of my circumstances. It’s not because of my education. It’s not because of my heritage. It’s not because of what I did that I’m here.”

When you feel like you’ve been dropped from the palace to the desert, that’s when you reach inside of you, draw of His faithfulness, and start to feed. And as you feed people are going to notice that you have streams in the desert, and that you’re flourishing like a rose of Sharon in a place where nothing is supposed to grow. Your beauty and your fragrance will draw them to you, and then you can share the marvelous manna of His faithfulness.

Before you know it, roses of Sharon are popping up like daisies, those springs become rivers, and your desert season has become an oasis.

You have been put in a desert season so you can bring breakthrough to someone else.

When my circumstances are not bringing me joy, I am forced to eat of His faithfulness and the confident hope I have in Him, which is the only food they will be receptive to.

That is what it means to be fed truly.

Hello, little desert flower. Your circumstances did not bring you here. Rain didn't fall, yet you blossom. Sun did not shine, yet you face Heaven, beaming bright.

Omnia Mei Dona Dei

This li’l piece is actually quite precious to me. It’s a copy of something I did last fall in markers on the back of an envelope. In that particular season of my life, I was struggling with not really knowing where to go or what the next step was that I should take, but all I could do was trust that it would work out okay.

Right after I finished drawing this on the envelope, I heard words in my head: Dona Dei Sharai Kuruman. I scribbled them down and grabbed the nearest Droid and began to Google.

Turns out, “Dona Dei” is part of the phrase Omnia Mei Dona Dei, which means “All my things are gifts from God.”

Sharai is another form of Sarai, the wife of Abram, who laughed when she heard a promise of the impossible.

Kuruman is a little country in Africa where they have an overabundance of fresh water. It was no coincidence that my attention was drawn to this little country, as earlier in the week, Levi had been telling me about this global water shortage crisis, and I was feeling rather hopeless as a result. But there is always hope.

So, there you have it. Another one of my paintings with a story behind it.

Psalm 1:2

Psalm 1:2 (Amp) – But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) He habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.  

According to Psalm 1:2, my delight and my desire (my joy and my fire of pursuing passion) should always be in knowing his ways:

  1. The law of the Lord
  2. The precepts
  3. Teachings
  4. Instructions

I must make it a habit to think about and study these day and night. This means by day, I am putting aside time to read and reflect, and the night I give to Him before I fall asleep, and let Him seal revelation in my heart.

  1. The Law.
    In this context, the word for law is ha-torah, which means “The Direction.” In the Old Covenant, the Law of the Lord was fear-based because it was carried from one person to another externally, through rigid steps and punishment.Jeremiah 31:33 is a prophecy of the New Covenant, describing how God’s Law will be internalized, so His people will willingly obey Him. This is what we today call our conscience. It’s the spirit inside of us that warns against doing something you know is wrong.
  2. The Precepts.
    The precepts are simply “commandments,” the literal definition of the Hebrew word Entole.
  3. Teachings
    The verb form of the word teach is Yarah, which means “To throw, shoot, or point.” This verb form of “to teach” describes a guiding process, as of an arrow to a target.The noun form of “Teach” is Torah, which means “instruction, direction, guideline.” This is by no means a restriction or a hindrance, but instead the means whereby one can reach a goal or ideal.

    Israel fell into the trap of keeping torah as something imposed, and for itself, rather than as a means of becoming what God intended for her. The means became the end. Instead of seeing torah as a guideline, it became an external body of rules, and thus a weight rather than a freeing and guiding power.

  4. Instructions
    The word musarmeans “instruction, chastisement, warning.” Instruction, in this context, means first as teaching, then as a discipline.Summary of Psalm 1:2 – My joy and my passion are found in the pursuit and reflection of God’s law in my heart (my conscience, or instinct), His commandments for my life, where He is pointing me to, and how He is disciplining me.

Psalm 1:1

Psalm 1:1 (Amp) – Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.

According to Psalm 1:1, I will be blessed if…

  1. I do not live by or seek the counsel of the ungodly. This means following their advice, adopting their plans, or conforming to their purposes.
  2. I do not merely “go with the flow.”
  3. I do not rest at the gathering place of people who are scornful or mockers.

1. – I will not seek advice from ungodly sources, and I will not follow advice from ungodly sources unless it matches up with counsel from a godly source. (In other words, I will prioritize the counsel I receive based on godliness.) I will not be a sheep in a shephardless flock, blindly following the plans or adopting the purposes of the world.

2. – There is no “off” switch to my worship time. I cannot allow myself to let my thoughts or actions or mouth be defiled just because of the company I keep. I will be in the world, hanging around the lost and the dirty and the broken, but I will not be inactive or submissive to their ways.

I am a king, they are in my kingdom, and I will give them honor because I deserve it. If they’re near me, they are in my seat of honor, eating from my table—not the other way around. I am not entering into a kingdom of darkness to plead its inhabitants to swim across the moat into the kingdom of light; I bring my Kingdom with me and conform the culture everywhere I go.

3. – I need to be mindful of where I find my rest. Where have I pitched the tent of my sanctuary? Where does my guard come down? Where is a safe place I have established with God to be in a state of spirit-sleep communion, to stop outputting and filtering and just to listen? If my downtime is on Facebook, I’m not doing a good job of not resting where the scornful and mockers gather.

This is why I should limit and prioritize my Facebook time, and not let my filters down while I’m online.

Sweetness

Today, my fiancee came over after school to take pictures of all my paintings so I can sell them online as prints. He spent over an hour with them between uploading them to his computer and making them look pro in Photoshop. Instead of complaining about why I’m making him work for me when he could be at the office making more money than I ever have, he just got to work and did a wonderful job.

About halfway through, he looks over at me for a second and says, “You know we’re going to have your art on the walls of our apartment when we get married, right?”

My heart melted.

I believe it was Kris Vallotton who said that the influence you have over someone is determined by their value for you. I would have to say our relationship is pretty darn mutually influential.

I am so unbelievably blessed to have my fiancee. While learning to communicate effectively and trust unconditionally has been a sometimes rocky journey, sometimes I think it’s the day-to-day process where true character is formed. When Kathy Vallotton spoke in a Supernatural Marriage Conference a while back, she used the illustration of a dressing recipe she uses in her baking. Like most dressings, this one calls for oil and vinegar–which, when combined, only blend if being vigorously shaken. As soon as the shaking stops and the oil and vinegar aren’t being forced together, they separate once again.

But this particular dressing recipe calls for not just oil and vinegar, but honey as well. The honey acts as an emulsifier, allowing the oil and vinegar to stay together even when at rest.

A lot of the time in relationships, we’re super spiritual in looking on the bright side of our hard times. “We’re stronger because of it” is something that gets thrown around a lot, or “God is bringing us closer together during this.” That’s very true–but unless there is a sweetness between the two of you, that character won’t get the chance to come through on a day-to-day basis.

When you’re in that “honeymoon phase” of the relationship, the sweetness comes easy (get it? ’cause it’s a HONEYmoon…), but after everything settles down and becomes a routine, that sweetness is something that you have to culture. It’s something you have to be deliberate about in your decision-making in how you’re gonna act towards that person.

Don’t worry about taking the little things too seriously, or about taking the small frictions between you and your whomever personally. Sure, the hard times bring you closer together, but wouldn’t it be great to stick together during times of peace, too?

It’s well worth it. Everything is so much sweeter with a little honey. 

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