Fear, Obedience? Choice?

Fear, Obedience? Choice?

I have a quote and two verses on my mind this morning.

baby-hand-infant-child-451853.jpeg“Obedience is the outward evidence of the true fear of the Lord.”
– John Bevere

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
Stubborn fools despise wisdom and discipline.
– Provebs 1:7 (GW)

…the one who makes a promise and does not break it,
even though he is hurt by it.
Psalm 15:4b (GW)

These all serve as reminders for me that, really, the whole deal here, the big tamale, the be-all, and end-all, is fear and obedience- by choice. Not the one because of the other.

It’s an attitude thing, I think. Actually, I do like the word “awe” instead of fear.

awe noun “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.”

There’s a lyric from a Fike song, “I know You’re good, but safe I’m sure You’re not.”

pexels-photo-424517.jpegI guess what I’m trying to say is not that I want to obey because I’m afraid of You, but because I believe You do have plans to prosper and not harm me BUT if I refuse, You are quite capable of … ____?

What’s the right word? Justice? Correction? Discipline? The discipline of a Father for His beloved children – maybe that’s it.

I like the way The Passion Translation (TPT) puts it:

How then does a man gain the essence of wisdom?
We cross the threshold of true knowledge
WHEN we live in obedient devotion to God.
Stubborn know-it-alls will never stop to do this,
for they scorn true wisdom and knowledge.

pexels-photo-269334.jpegIt’s a “which comes first” thing; TPT says plainly that obedient devotion is the prerequisite for true knowledge.

I’m a smart guy (or so they told me), and I was raised thinking you have to know what you’re doing before you can succeed in doing it. I sense a setup for stubbornness and foolishness in that perspective.

Ah, yes, forever I’ve been a “have my cake and eat it too” guy; always trying for a win-win (for me) situation. That’s why Psalm 15’s verse is included. pexels-photo-227432.jpeg

Obedience just has this sense that stresses doing something one doesn’t want or really like doing. Something contrary. Integrity can hurt, or be uncomfortable, at the least.

I checked out all English translations of the Proverb. Here are some of the words used in place of “wisdom and discipline.”

  • pexels-photo-265076.jpeginstruction
  • self-discipline (my word)
  • good advice
  • a willingness to learn
  • chastening
  • teaching
  • knowledge
  • guidance

Aren’t all these things “good?” Aren’t they all things a “smart” person would do, without question? Aren’t these inherent? Common-sense? (In which case, we don’t need to be taught to do them, right?)

Or did we?

Some toddlers will bypass the stairs as soon as they notice they can climb instead