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Humility and the Fear of the Lord

By Bob Hoekstra

      By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life . . . with the humble is wisdom . . . The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 22:4; 11:2; and 9:10)
      Many of our previous meditations have clearly demonstrated that walking in humility is the pathway for living by the grace of God. "God . . . gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5). In our present verses, we see that humility and the fear of the Lord are related.

      Humility and the fear of the Lord result in the same blessings. "By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life." The closing trio ("riches and honor and life") are an Old Testament description of a life that is fully blessed by God. The New Testament counterpart would be fullness of spiritual life. "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). Humility and the fear of the Lord also result in wisdom. "With the humble is wisdom . . . The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom."

      Humility is the candid acknowledgment of our absolute need for the Lord to work comprehensively in our lives day by day. The fear of the Lord is respect and reverence toward our great God. It is not a fear involving terror or apprehension. Rather, it is based upon profound admiration and dependent devotion.

      Those who humbly fear the Lord (by placing their admiration and devotion in Him) also embrace His perspectives and values. They develop a hatred for the things that He hates. "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate" (Proverbs 8:13). Correspondingly, those who have respect and reverence for the Lord develop a love for all that He loves. The Lord loves for His people to walk in righteousness and justice. "The LORD loves the righteous . . . the LORD loves justice" (Psalm 146:8 and 37:28). The Lord loves Israel, His chosen nation. "The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples" (Deuteronomy 7:7). The Lord loves His church, the children of God. "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1). The Lord loves the world, those who need to know Him. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

      Lord God almighty, I humbly bow before You, acknowledging my absolute need for You to work comprehensively in my life day by day. I want to walk in the fear of the Lord, placing my admiration and devotion in You. I want to hate all that You hate and love all that You love, in Jesus name, Amen.

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