The new year is here but the old one clings and how do I decide where to start?
There are meals to plan, budget, and prepare. There are lessons to plan, soccer schedules, piano lessons, guitar lessons, art classes, library times, museum locations, Rosetta stone Spanish, and new chore charts to make. There are books to read and write and edit, leadership opportunities to pray over, financial obligations, adoption information, much needed basic house organization, and prayer about when and where and how much to invest in various relationships.
Then there is all the daily maintenance to keep this home from becoming an enormous compost pile.
When a break from the "break" is needed and beginnings come too soon and sudden I beg of Him Who tells me to ask so I may receive:
"I don't know where to begin. Where do I begin??"
He is straightforward with my simple self and I dearly love Him for it.
The Proverb for the day, the Proverb that begins every month, every year, this year... Proverbs 1... has the answer in verse 7.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge"
He lays it out in a single line and I have my first stepping stone across this raging stream of questions. If I want to even begin to know what to do, I must first have the fear of the LORD.
"Great!..." My elation soars and stalls, "Now what is that exactly?"
The root word used when speaking of the "fear" of the LORD is not one that means a fear of punishment. It is the Hebrew word "yirah" that denotes reverence and awe.
He has brought me here before, this desire to better understand the fear of the LORD, new resolutions surge to fear Him as He desires because He says plainly:
"The fear of the LORD leads to life: then one rests content, untouched by trouble."
"Through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil."
"Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life."
"The fear of the LORD adds length to life."
And I have taught it to my sharp five year old, and we recite this often, this blueprint in bold black and white that maps out how to understand this fear of the LORD and yes, even find the knowledge of very God Himself.
It is sometimes hard for me to connect the dots but sweet Jesus put them close together, these instructions laid out in the second chapter of Proverbs, the second stepping stone answering this second question " how can I understand what the fear of the LORD is?"
"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. "
I have accepted His words and store up His commands, I turn my ear and apply my heart, I call out and cry aloud and He knows this and whispers it in all my questioning canyons "now look for it as silver, and search for it as hidden treasure."
Ah. The hard work of study. Search and research. Reading more than a snippet here, a well known passage there. Searching in the dusty books for silver lines and hidden caves full of treasure.
And I love to read of adventure but to take the hard steps into unfamiliar places and become the bold Word-seeker shakes these untrained spiritual muscles and weakness revealed births a different kind of fear.
What will I find of You in the hidden places? I have trusted You thus far and have just become comfortable with all You've shown me. I follow happily. Now the Light wants me to brave the deep and reaches for my hand encouraging:
"The LORD confides in those who fear Him..."
O that the Most High would confide in me!
Me. That is where the fear feeds from. I do not fear Him, but what He might expose in me. All of the unknowns. I am always what keeps us from going deeper.
He waits for me to catch my breath.
He gently smiles right into my weakness and leaves His strong hand extended:
"you know Me."
The tears well and swell and wash away this forgetfulness of His love. And He who I revere and awe perfectly melts all my fear, casts it far away. I take His hand.
He smiles. "The beginning of wisdom..."
And where does He lead? Higher up and deeper in the mystery of Him in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I'll write more of our adventures soon...