Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Faith & Fear

Welcome back! Last week we explored the sovereignty of God in the Proverbs 31 Woman's life. Trusting that God is present in all things, the good, the indifferent, even the ugly circumstances of our life is a key element of faith for the Proverbs 31 Woman. This virtue of trust leads to a reverence of God in all things. Easier said then done in our human nature isn't it? Before we move on, be sure to read Proverbs 31:10-31 this week. Plan for something new to be seen each time you do this. You heard of the adult learner theory which says the more we touch (read) something, the more likely it is to stick with us? It's true!!

This week we will explore the connection our faith and our fear of God has in our life which gives us the ability to reverence Him as we were created to.

This weeks memory verse: Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. ~ Prov 31:30

Obviously from this verse, the Proverbs 31 Woman fears God. So, what does it mean to fear God? When most of us think of fear we are incline to shun away from something...fear of spiders, fear of needles, fear of heights, fear of a life threatening diagnosis. Is that the same kind of fear that scripture is talking about? Is there such a thing as an ungodly fear verses a godly fear? Look at how Webster defines fear:

an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger b (1) : an instance of this emotion (2) : a state marked by this emotion : anxious concern : solicitude: profound reverence and awe especially toward God : reason for alarm : danger

Can you see the difference between a godly fear (profound reverence) and ungodly fear (anxious concern; danger)? Eastons bible dictionary defines godly fear to ungodly fear as "conjoined with love and hope, and is therefore not a slavish dread, but rather filial reverence".

Godly fear. How does the Proverbs 31 Woman maintain this? What does it mean to live in the fear of God? Stormie Omartian in her book The Power of a Praying Women (2002) identified living in the fear of God this way:

"The more you get to know the Lord and understand who He is, the more you will reverence Him and fear His displeasure. This is called the fear of the Lord, and it makes you want to obey Him. Its what draws you closer to God and increases your longing for more of Him. It makes you forget all the things that cause you fear, because they pale in comparison to His awesome power. When you have the fear of the Lord, you fear what your life would be like without Him."

The Proverbs 31 Woman who lives in fear of the Lord does not go about her days cowardly, no, she has a spiritual strength that calls her into obedience to God in words, actions, and thoughts. As humanly as possible, she understands and respects the awesomeness of God's power and greatness. Though she is not perfect, she remains constantly in communion with her God and allows the Holy Spirit to direct her every move. She is quick to acknowledge to God when she has failed and quick to seek forgiveness.

"...Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind". Ecc. 12:13 (NIV)

The woman who fears the Lord lives a life willing to be made willing for whatever the Lord may ask of her each day. Before her feet hit the floor each morning, the first words from her mouth are "Lord, what can I do for you today?"

Above all, fear the LORD and worship Him faithfully with all your heart, considering the great things He has done for you. ~ 1 Sam 12:24

The process of fearing the Lord is a learned process. Moses was instructed to gather the people, to constantly review the laws God had given them so they would learn to fear God (Deut 31: 12-14). In that same manner, the Proverbs 31 Woman will gather her children, her friends, and teach God's word. She intentionally studies His Word, puts it to memory and into action in attempt to live holy for Him.

What does the LORD your God ask of you except to fear the LORD your God by walking in all His ways, to love Him, and to worship the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul? ~ Deut 10:12

The Proverbs 31 Woman lives a life of praising God, honoring God, and reverencing Him.

You who fear the LORD, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him! All you descendants of Israel, revere Him! ~ Ps 22:23

The Proverbs 31 Woman lives a life of trusting God in the dark and difficult times. Her reverent fear of God demonstrates a "no matter what" kind of trust and finds her comfort and her faith in her sovereign God.

Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear [no] danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff —they comfort me. ~ Ps 23: 4

The Proverbs 31 Woman is faithful in her fear of God and has an intimate relationship with Him. She is able to see Him and hear Him in her daily activities because she seeks Him in all things.

The secret counsel of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He reveals His covenant to them. ~ Ps 25:14

The Proverbs 31 Woman who fears the Lord is confident and dependent on her God. She knows Her God is with her in everything.

Now the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him— those who depend on His faithful love. ~ Ps 33:18

The Proverbs 31 Woman allows her heart and mind to dwell on those things that are pleasing to Him. She lives intentionally and consciously for her God.

Teach me Your way, LORD, and I will live by Your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear Your name. ~ Ps 86:11

The fear of the Lord in the Proverbs 31 Woman is passed down to her generations.

But from eternity to eternity the LORD's faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren. ~ Ps 103:17

The Proverbs 31 Woman who fears the Lord finds her joy in Him.

Hallelujah! Happy is the man who fears the LORD, taking great delight in His commandments.. ~ Ps 112:1

How happy is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways! ~ Ps 128:1

The Proverbs 31 Woman who fears the Lord demonstrates this by hating what God hates and living a holy life.

To fear the LORD is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech. ~ Prov 8:13

The Proverbs 31 Woman who fears the Lord is persuasive and her life is an open book of God's mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

Knowing, then, the fear of the Lord, we persuade people. We are completely open before God, and I hope we are completely open to your consciences as well. ~2 Cor 5:11

The Proverbs 31 Woman who fears the Lord is not perfect. I am sure she had days when she yelled at her kids, didn't feel like being productive, had her feelings hurt by others, and felt too exhausted to be her husbands helpmate. But whats make a Proverbs 31 Woman different than the average woman is that she acknowledges these times to her God, and to others as appropriate, seeks forgiveness and makes an attempt to turn from her weaknesses or failures. It is in these times of weakness and failure she is able to grow her faith and her fear of God. There becomes less of her and more of God in her life. She learns to fear God daily, to trust His sovereignty, and she grows more in love with Him as she does this.

There is plenty more scripture to support that fearing God is commanded by God. These verses are for your personal study and reflection this week:

Joshua 1:9

Ps 25:12; 27:1-3; 31:19; 34:9; 103:11, 13; 115:13; 145:19

Prov. 1: 28-29; 2:3-5; 16:16; 19:23; 22:4; 29:25 Isa 11:2, 3;

Jere 32:40

John 9:31

2 Cor 5:11

Heb 11:7; 12:28

2 Tim 1:7

1 John 4:18

A women who fears the Lord...that is what I desire to do better. Sharon Jaynes stated it well in a book she co-authored with Lysa Terkeurst "Seven Life Principles for Every Woman":

As women, our lives must be filled, first and foremost, with Jesus Christ. Then and only then can Christ's love spill over first to our husbands, second to our children, then to our homes, our friends, our community, and the world."

A women who fears the Lord is so filled with Christ that she spills His love over for others. I love that thought! Her relationship with Him is personal and ongoing. It is intentional. I'm sure you know all about the ministries Sharon and Lysa have. But if by chance you haven't, click on their names to learn more. Their resources are rich in growing your faith and your relationship with God!

My Holy God, my Sovereign God, You are so loving and I cannot imagine my life without You. Grow me to be more like you. I need to be more loving, more giving, especially in my home. Make me into a woman of faith who fears You enough to live intentionally for You. Teach me to love others as You do. Be my life. ~Amen

Next week we will talk about the Proverbs 31 Woman and prayer.

Believing Him~Pamela


Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Love this: The woman who fears the Lord lives a life willing to be made willing for whatever the Lord may ask of her each day. Before her feet hit the floor each morning, the first words from her mouth are "Lord, what can I do for you today?"

That is definitely who I want to be!!


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Honestly, I think I need a good dose of holy fear in my heart right now...

I was reading in Mark last night, when Jesus confronted the Pharisees about the condition on their hearts... about appearing spiritual on the outside, when the inside is corrupt. I immediately felt the strong conviction of the Lord, wondering how this was currently applying to my own heart.

Sometimes I have such a beautiful, relational grip on the Lord, I become too comfortable in my love for him; sometimes, I need to see myself in light of who he truly IS. It's in those times, holy fear and trembling arrives, and I find my knees.

Love you sister... you're such a good student of our Lord and Savior!


Mariel said...

great reminders of such truth! Oh, that my heart today would be a "Lord, what can i do for you today?" kind of heart!