Day 40: The Fear of the Lord
In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence,
and his children will have a refuge.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
The other day I was installing a crystal chandelier in the nursery (a novelty after raising three boys) when I happened to read comments on the company website by other brave souls who had tried and failed before me. Most of those comments were posted by husbands griping about all the tiny little pieces and how the finely printed instructions were of less value than toilet paper. A rare few comments came from wives gushing over how thrilled they were that their husbands had finally installed the chandelier and how it brightened up their home.
So now it’s my turn to try my hand at this Herculean task and I reach the step of connecting the wires . . . .
I always get nervous working with electricity, so I dutifully ran downstairs to the circuit breaker and shut off the power before going back up to connect the wires. I then went down to turn the power back on, but returned to find the light in the chandelier still off. The other lights in the room were working, so maybe the bulb was bad. I switched out the bulb, but it was not the bulb. Then I considered that maybe I crossed the wires, so I ran down to turn off the circuit breaker again before running back up to re-connect the wires. I then ran back down to turn the power on and ran back up, but the light was still not working. My electrical expertise had reached its limit, so I now had no idea what to do. I was frustrated and about to give up. Maybe I’d add my own complaints to the company website. I even considered re-connecting the wires like they were at first (as if that would do any good). And then it hit me! The light switch was off. There was no power because the light switch in room was off.
Dads, this is a picture of parenting without God’s Holy Spirit. Some of you have worked really hard to understand God’s wisdom in his Word. You might attend church every Sunday and listen to every sermon. You ask Christian friends or family members for advice. If you are really courageous, you have read a book on biblical parenting (like this one!). You are constantly connecting and re-connecting the wires, turning the circuit breaker on and off as you run up and down the stairs. You are frustrated because you feel you’ve tried everything. Yet all the time, the light switch is off. You have no power from God’s Holy Spirit to explain to you his Word (1 Cor. 2:11-14). So you might understand the words intellectually, but spiritually you have no clue how wisdom illuminates your life. The light will never go on without God’s Holy Spirit as Wisdom cries aloud for you to listen: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you” (Prov. 1:22-23).
Dads, you cannot raise your children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4b) unless you know the Lord. You cannot be filled with God’s Word unless you are filled with God’s Holy Spirit (Col. 3:16). You cannot communicate to your children the good news of Jesus Christ unless Jesus is first your Lord and Savior (Rom. 10:13-15). Thus we conclude Day 40 with the same truth from Day 1: “In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death” (Prov. 14:26-27). The fear of the Lord requires both reverent obedience and worshipful joy. So obey the Lord with reverence, knowing that he alone holds the key to life and death. Then worship the Lord with joy, knowing that he alone is your strength and the refuge for your children. Dads, “serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Ps. 2:11), so that your children will know him and fear him also.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Teach me to live my life in worshipful joy and reverent obedience. Allow my love for you to become a refuge for my children. Show me how to fear you alone and to lead my children in the path of life. In your Son’s name, Amen.
LifeWork: Write down one way you will apply today’s Proverb.
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