Proverbs 19:23 —The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. This is one of the verses I review every now-and-then. It’s been quite awhile since I reviewed it. When I did, it hit me once again with a renewed freshness.
When I read that verse I honestly feel like I must be living in a parallel universe — meaning, I don’t seem to live daily within the realm of this verse. This verse isn’t the daily norm for me.
But, I want it to be.
So, first off, what in the world does the verse mean — I mean in terms of a practical reality?
How do we define the key words in this verse: Fear; life; satisfied; evil? I know I have a general idea in my head. I can probably give some good theologically acceptable answer. You might even be saying … I know what it means, what’s wrong with you?
Well, I’ll tell you.
Words can be so … vague. Dictionaries help. But, is it just a matter of defining words or is it something else? Is the Bible to be read, deciphered and understood just like any other book? Can the natural mind understand the things of the Spirit of God?
I trow not.
The Bible is from another realm, another reality. It’s not of this world. It’s not just like any other book. Education, wisdom, pedigree don’t necessarily help when trying to absorb the reality of this Book and transfer it into the lives of mere mortals.
As an example, take our first word — fear. Fear of the Lord. I bet your first gut response to the word fear is negativity. Fear isn’t automatically one of those words that carries with it the connotation of a warm fuzzy feeling. It doesn’t necessarily make us feel good.
In terms of modern Christian and Messianic thinking, if God is a God of LOVE then how can we combine FEAR and LOVE and come up with a palatable God that makes everyone feel good about themselves and God? Do these two go together? Yes, but … no. Not today anyway.
So, where am I going with this you ask? Not sure, to be honest. Just sort of thinking out loud.
But thinking about God’s Word is the only way to get it’s reality deep down inside of us. If we don’t read it, or only just casually connect with it, we’ll never experience the reality of it’s impact. There’s no other way.
Let’s go a little further in considering the word Fear.
Fear is a positive negative. To understand what it means to “not be visited with Evil,” we must first come to terms with the very words of Scripture themselves. And as we do, we’ll come to find out there’s a whole world of reality just waiting for us in the Word — if we’re willing to open the Word and let it permeate our very being. I recently pulled out my Recorders again. I’m remembering now why I put them away. They take work. More work than my Ocarina. As I started again I was, for a very brief moment, tempted to put my soprano Recorder back in its case. But, I know that to achieve any meaningful results I’ll just have to buckle down and … work. It’s the same with the Word.
The question one must face is … do I even care? Do I care enough to want to meet with the God of eternity on a daily basis so He can teach me about Himself? It’s just like anything else worthwhile in life … to get the benefits one must put in the time.
Let’s put the same kind of effort into learning the Word of God like we would with anything else we want to be proficient in? In the end, it’s the only thing that has eternal benefits.
We might as well throw ourselves into the Word and let it produce its fruit within us.
Besides, we’re already dead.
Colossians 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.