A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11
Some people have trouble with the phrase, “the fear of the Lord.” To them God is all love and beauty, and fear is totally the opposite of God. I sympathize but what the Bible says is the truth of God, the Word of God. Since we can’t bend God’s Word to our understanding we must bend our understanding to the Word.
I guess I have an advantage in this because of my Father. My dad was an athlete, policeman, teacher, outdoorsman, lifeguard, and he lived with and loved my mother, his wife, until the day he died. He knew how to express affection and demonstrate love, and did so regularly. He also required respect, obedience and love from his children, and taught us how to give it. As a child I feared his discipline, as an adult I feared disappointing him. He’s long gone and I still love him.
People who have lost alot, who have known devastation perhaps can receive Isaiah’s message more easily than “winners.” Notice the shoot comes up from the stump and the Branch from the roots. This is a tree that has been felled – it has no hope. Yet God promises that from the unpromising remains something great will come. And this Someone will “delight in the fear of the Lord.” Great loss teaches us that life is fragile, that we are not as strong and wise as we thought. It knocks some of the self-confidence and hubris out of us. At the same time it forces us to turn to the Father – our only help and stay. And when we do we meet the awesome Presence, whose power, greatness and glory would crush us if He let it. And we fear Him, a thousand times more greatly than children would fear a thousand fathers. And fearing Him is our delight. We know that in all His greatness, power and glory that He is altogether, totally, unquestionably good. And so I give Him my fear, my trust, and my love.
What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of God?
Amen, let it be.