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Posts Tagged ‘Genesis 3’

The Fear of the Lord

June 26th, 2013

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 9:10 NKJV

The fear of the Lord is the deeply sane recognition that we are not God; He is.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the fear of the Lord.”

A baby is born with only two fears: the fear of falling and loud noises. Others are learned along the way, unfortunately. There are times, things, situations, and people that warrant caution. Most fears are unhealthy for you. Neurotic fear can be debilitating. Unhealthy fears are neurotic, destroying peace and stifling every joy. Fear magnifies your imagination and distorts your perceived reality. Fear misdirects expectations to the worst possible projection. Healthy fears can be lifesaving. Addressing and overcoming fear in constructive ways is important for emotional and physical well-being. The Bible has much wisdom to offer about fears, which are both hurtful and helpful.

Solomon, whose greatest desire was for wisdom (2 Chronicles 1:7-11 NKJV), learned where all wisdom begins. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by [wisdom] your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you.” Proverbs 9:10-11 NKJV. The Bible has much to say about “the fear of the Lord.” People wrongly equate it with other fears, which at their base have an inner concern of danger or harm. See Proverbs 29:25 NIV. The fear of the Lord is nothing like natural fears, except when misunderstood.

Adam and Eve hid themselves from God then explained to Him, “We heard your voice and were afraid.” Genesis 3:10 NKJV. Their fear was not from a lack in God’s character, but a lack in their own. And God’s response? He provided covering for their shame and promised them a Savior. How do you not love a God like that? I think many have a distorted understanding of Godly fear. You need not fear a God who would give His Son for you.

Incorrectly, a person who is not persuaded of God’s holy nature and righteous character nor committed to the unvarying truth of Scripture’s revelation of God may live under a false fear of what God may do to them. What you are capable of doing to God should be your fear – ignoring Him, disobeying Him, disbelieving Him, disappointing Him, or misrepresenting Him to others. You are more likely to “hurt God” by how you treat Him than He would ever harm you.

I came upon a quote deserving of reflection, “The fear of the Lord is the deeply sane recognition that we are not God.” To that, I would add, “. . and a holy recognition that He is.” Unhealthy fears are often the product of one’s ignorance of God’s existence or stubborn disbelieve in His caring and character. It helps if you understand that what the Bible calls fear, as it relates to one’s relationship with God, is “the attitude of respect and reverential awe,” a sublimely positive affection rather than a negative emotion. The practical elements of the “fear of the Lord” are: a clear understanding of God’s nature, a pure obedience to God’s Word, and a clean heart in God’s presence. I love the Bible’s description of “the believers [who] were walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:31 NLT.

My prayer for you this day is that you cultivate a holy reverence for God and His wisdom.

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Security

February 22nd, 2013

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 NIV.

The great lie is that security can be found in something other than God.

God designed and created you to be absolutely secure. God placed Adam and Eve in Eden, a perfect garden. There they had uncomplicated fellowship with God; they were safe; they were as one; they had every abundance; they enjoyed responsibility and authority. Then Adam and Eve believed a lie, bringing disobedience and sin into that perfect garden and nothing again was perfect. Genesis 3:1-8 NKJV. The lie was that their security could be found in something other than God. That same lie still deceives today. And what did they do? “They hid themselves from the presence of the Lord.”

Throughout entire lifetimes, people search for security. Security is elusive to those for whom God’s presence is uncomfortable. Innately, people feel they are created to be secure, but also struggle with feelings of insecurity. So much was lost when Adam and Eve sinned, yet ever since, “God [has been] reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” 2 Corinthians 5:19 NKJV. Reconciliation is still where you can find security of soul – finally secure in right relationship with God through the Savior, Jesus Christ. See Romans 5:12-21 NKJV.

God made a promise to Moses: “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 NIV. Moses’ response should be yours and mine, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” Vs. 15. Why choose to travel on without God alongside? God’s Presence is always the source of true rest. There would be much in Israel’s journey that they would lack and much opposition and difficulty the nation would face, both from within and without, but the single, most important thing was Moses’ and the nation’s assurance that they would never be without God’s Presence. The nation of Israel is a testament to that truth still today.

You will not find absolute security by searching for the wrong things in the wrong places. Reputation and renown, wealth and prestige, celebrity and influence, properties and material possessions, self indulgence and the myriad of other things in combination or individually with which people try to fill their lives can never, provide security for hearts and souls. Your heart will never be content until it finds rest in God alone. There will never be enough of other things to fill the place that was made for God to fill.

The New Testament echoes with just such a promise and assurance that your life will not lack God’s presence and providence. Paul asked and answered the age-old question, “If God be for us, who can be against us? He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He who gave us Christ not [graciously] give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32 NKJV/NLT.

Do you struggle with emptiness of purpose? Deep within, do you suffer undefined lack? Accept Jesus’ invitation, “Come unto Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest . . and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT. There, in His presence, you will be safe, settled, sound, and secure. See Psalm 16:11 NKJV.

My prayer for you this day is that you will never know a moment apart from His Presence.

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Without Excuse

February 23rd, 2010

“The woman You gave me gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12-13 CEV

“The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of character and maturity.”

My thoughts today are about being “without excuse.”

Excuses. Everybody, young and old, has a heart full of them. The youngest child somehow concludes that any excuse is better than none. Every spouse, parent, schoolteacher, marriage counselor, cop, and judge has heard every kind of excuse imaginable. With every wrong, there comes a story written with the author as the “good guy.”

A person can waste a lifetime blaming someone or something else, all the while excusing themselves. Never growing up. Never becoming responsible. Never getting anywhere with their life. Never getting right with God. Every mistake made, any explanation of failure, is because of what someone else did, or failed to do. Have you ever fallen into that trap?

The first evidence of sin might well be an excuse. At the origin of everything, sin came into a perfect place and immediately excuses were made and blame was assigned. Read Genesis 3.  First, Adam and Eve covered and hid; then they pointed fingers and blamed.

Eve blamed the serpent for beguiling her. Adam blamed Eve for giving him the forbidden fruit  . . . then cautiously insinuated that God might also share the blame – for giving him the woman in the first place! And that same old, tired story is retold every day since; just the cast of characters is changed. After all, if not yourself then someone has to be guilty, don’t they?

Everyone in Eden offered an excuse attempting to exonerate themselves, except the devil. The devil knew what he had done, and why he had done so. Ever wonder why it seems that God ultimately gets blamed for so much that goes on? Excuses always carry a high price, for yourself and others. The sin of Eden could have been settled immediately with confession and repentance, releasing forgiveness and freedom.

Blame is a foolish and rarely successful way to turn the spotlight away from your failure by assigning the cause to someone or something else. An excuse is an inadequate attempt to avoid responsibility but impairs your ability to grow and learn.

Do you think that integrity can be developed when you excuse yourself and blame others, or does character and maturity grow by accepting personal responsibility? The answer is obvious, I hope. When God asks of you as He did of Adam, “What have you done?” It’s best to think carefully and answer honestly. The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of your character and maturity. It is so very true that “confession is good for the soul.”

Accepting personal responsibility for who you are and what you do is the first step to growing personally and spiritually. The Bible says plainly, before God, “man is without excuse.” Romans 1:20. Refusing to make excuse for yourself is the first step into wonderful freedom. Proverbs 28:13.

My prayer for you today is that you live so as to need neither excuse nor to offer blame.

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