A problem now resides within my mind,
A tension of the most perplexing kind,
I’m quite aware that one thing should be so,
But instead, another way is how things tend to go.
Wisdom, fear, and knowledge play their parts
In each believer’s mind and will and heart.
When measuring my inventory’s scales
My emphasis on one of these is sadly, starkly pale.
Knowledge is essential, without doubt.
You can’t apply what’s not been learned about.
And how successful would it be to do
Something, about which, you had no clue?
Wisdom then steps in and saves the day,
Molding newfound knowledge into what we do and say.
But even wisdom doesn’t round the whole,
For doing what we know to do
Can still be dry and cold.
This is where I find the gaping hole
When taking stock of life, and heart, and soul.
We know so much of God’s amazing Word,
We think, “If we could only act on
All we’ve learned and heard.”
But is this aspiration quite enough?
Is this the Christian life we’re dreaming of?
One that aims at wisdom’s lofty goal,
Of constantly and faithfully applying what we know?
Here Solomon would like to interject.
His writings bind a three-fold cord
That tightly intersects.
The most important aspect of our lives
Is the motive or the fuel that moves and drives.
“The fear of God,” he says, “is where it starts.”
There is no higher motive
For the motion of our hearts.
To fear God is to see Him as He is,
And bend the knee before Him
Humbly praising with our lips.
So, do we value knowledge? Yes.
And yes, we must apply
All the nuggets that we’re gleaning
From the Bible’s wealthy mines.
But as you take a counting
Of the status of your days,
Do you truly fear the Potentate,
The One, on whom the seraphim
Do not attempt to gaze?
Fear has lost its muscle,
Since we’ve tried to make it mean
Merely praise or adoration,
Something light, and nice, and clean.
But if you looked up from these words,
Were lifted through the skies,
Were taken from this realm
And through the veil of paradise,
If you were taken to that place,
To stand before His throne,
It would be as dangerous
As walking on the sun.
And the searing heat of holiness
Would show you you’re unclean,
And you’re undone.
You could not stand,
And certainly would not attempt to speak!
In fear you’d fall down on your face,
As low as low can be.
You’d quickly know then, all at once,
The span of difference vast,
Between His glory and your own
And fear you’d learn at last!
Fear – this thing that puzzles us –
Should not be all that strange.
But in our fallen, sin-filled world,
Fear comes with a tinge.
It’s hard to see the beauty
In our fearing Whom we love.
We see these two as juxtaposed,
“There is no fear in love.”
In any other contact of our hearts
This would be true.
To be afraid of one, would make it
difficult to love.
Yet, with our Lord, and with our sturdy
Confidence by grace,
“There is no fear,” means hope is sure,
His love will keep us safe.
But if you say, “In loving God –
And in His loving us –
fear should never play a part.”
Then sadly, this you’ve missed:
Only t’ward our God –
The Mighty Maker of all things,
Must fear and love be mingled
in so pure and right a mix.
Loving God – the heart’s response
to seeing His good grace.
Fearing God – the heart’s response
when holy pow’r is faced.
Both are healthy, needful,
Both are integral and right.
To have no fear t’ward such a God
As this, would be but pride.
And pride, more so than any trait,
Will squander love’s bright flame.
So fear Him, bow and tremble
At the thought of His pure face.
But also, rest securely
In His love’s amazing grace.