~ or, Children Should Be Afraid of Their Fathers ~ 2004.06.14
Fear is fear. Fear is not equal to respect. Fear is not the equivalent of respect. Some folks will tell you that the fear of the Lord is intended to mean respect, reverence, honour for the Lord. I am here to tell you it is not. Fear in this context, means fear.
Now my children (#1 especially, 3 years old at the time of writing) don’t respect me. They don’t know what respect is, much less understand it, much less have it for me. But my children fear me, and this is proper; and let me tell you why.
Because their fear is the beginning of wisdom. Now my kids are too young to understand that they ought not to do something because it is wrong. They don’t care that we will be disappointed in them if they let us down. But my girl knows that if she does something she is not supposed to do, it is going to hurt when daddy hears about it. She is afraid of the consequence, and so she behaves (usually) appropriately. At this point I don’t expect reverence from her – that should come later. Right now what I want is simple obedience, which is brought on by her fear. This is the beginning of wisdom.
How many of you by show of hands have never used a table saw? Of those of you who have never used one, how many of you do not know that a table saw is dangerous? So. We know that if we touch that spinning blade it will hurt us. We fear that blade. I have used table saws. I have used bandsaws, routers, drill presses etc. and I have a very healthy respect for them now. I do what I should do now because I respect the danger. Now I am not afraid and I know the proper mitigation techniques. But when I was young I did what I had to do very carefully and minded my thoughts and my fingers with utmost caution; and this was the beginning of my wisdom when it comes to power tools.
But wherein should we fear the Lord? Doesn’t He love us and care for us, and actively seek the good of those that love Him? Yes. But before you respect Him and live daily as He would have you to do, you need to FEAR the Lord. Why? Because only God can send you to Hell. Displease me and I might not talk to you – might even give it to you right in the kisser. Displease God and He just might condemn you to the lake of fire forever; You will be forever burning but never burned up. Always dying and in torments but never dead. Always suffering. Fear the one who can do all this to you forever. Fear God. This is the beginning of wisdom.