The Post (Week 13: Exodus 35-40, Proverbs 1)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
This verse probably causes a little hesitance in us all. Is this about being scared? Terrified? We can get a good insight if we look at the way “fear” is used in connection with God in other passages.
Deuteronomy 10:12 says, “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his way, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”
Psalm 130:3-4 states, “If you, O Lord kept a record of sins, O Lord who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.”
And lastly, Proverbs 9:10 gives us great insight by interpreting the word fear, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
What do we see from these verses? That fear is connected with love and understanding, forgiveness and passion. There’s no terror here, but almost a fearful joy. What we fear or are in awe of the most shows what our greatest love is. If you are in touch with what you fear to lose the most, it will show what your life is arranged around. If you are a people pleaser, your greatest fear might be rejection. If you are a power performer you might fear humiliation. But when your greatest fear is God, it has the ability to cast every other fear out. Isn’t that an amazing thought?
This is the reason Proverbs begins with this idea of fearing the Lord; it is the first step to knowing God in the deepest part of our hearts. A writer I enjoy, Tim Keller said, “The fear of the Lord is a life rearrangement of joyful awe and wonder, for both who the Lord is and what He has done.” In other words, when we see the forgiveness He gives fully by grace, and move toward walking in his ways, God can become the core of our motivation and we can begin to understand His wisdom. We’ll begin this process by examining Proverbs for the next month.
Tips for Reading - (Observation tip #13)
Note: This section is help for Bible Reading in general. It will be building throughout the year under the topics of Observation (what the Scripture says), Interpretation (what it means) and Application (what it means to your life). Feel free to look back over last week to get the whole picture.
The Proverbs can be a little hard to read if you read them all together in a row. There are a lot of them and there is no narrative to follow. So here are a few practical ways to read the Proverbs:
• Read one Proverb a day with other Bible reading that you are doing.
• Make a topical list: Take a blank sheet of paper and every time you come across a Proverb that expresses an emotion, or talks about the fools and wise, or the hard workers and the lazy, write down the Biblical reference and describe it. At the end of this year you will have a list of emotions and habits to reference. Keep the list handy for you next emotional meltdown or as you are working on disciplines.
• Pray the Proverbs: Many Proverbs are easily adapted into prayers of either praise for what God gives or a request for insight. Consider reading them out loud as a prayer to God.
• Re-Title them: If you looked in my Bible, you would see the Proverb I’m reading has a title describing the topic. If I re-title it with what strikes me about the content, it helps me to understand what’s being said.
• Look for Christ and characteristics He showed, like wisdom, forgiveness and purity. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to do this. Just use your cross reference to discover the connections.
Notes from David’s Journal
Exodus 35-40 continues with the exact commandments from God on the construction of the Tabernacle. One can't help but notice the elaborate detail God expects. Moreover, the finest, best material is used. I don't think that's because God is extravagant, but I do think it's supposed to remind us of the greatness of God's character and His complete holiness.
As you read how the High Priest is supposed to perform the sacrifices for the forgiveness of the Israelites' sin, keep this in mind (it was pointed out to me years ago by a friend); each movement of the High Priest, from the place for the blood sacrifice, to the laver, to the inner courts, to the holy of holies, is in the perfect movement of (you guessed it!) the Cross!!
It's another Old Testament example of foreshadowing the death of Jesus for our sins. In the Old Testament, the blood of goats, bulls, birds and other animals were offered to expiate sins for a short period of time...until the next sin was committed. In Christ, we have the perfect Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, once and for all, forever, never to be atoned for again! God gives clues and insights into what He is going to do in the Old Testament.
Keep looking for them as you read through the Bible. Like the man who appeared to Jacob being a theophanic vision of Jesus coming to earth, so is this movement of the High Priest suggesting the Cross, God's ultimate expression of love, his blood shed for our sins.
The Tabernacle, God's mobile worship unit, given so the people will know God is forever with them. Jesus in us, God's forever Tabernacle, his eternal mobile worship unit, living in us, through us, for His glory and His glory alone!