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Immerse: Poets - Week 7

When I was in college, I was blessed to be a student of Glenn Bourne.  He was a long-time professor at the college and taught the freshman level classes, Life of Christ I and II, which covered an entire year in the class studying the gospels and the events and happenings during the life of Jesus. It was an amazing experience full of knowledge, wisdom, insight and blessings all shared through the voice and teaching of a man who had been in active church ministry for decades.  But it was also a challenge – class was at 7:30am in the morning, and as a freshman, I didn’t always make the best choices about what time to go to bed each night.  There was one day in particular, no matter how hard I tried, I kept falling asleep. My eyes felt like they had two-ton boulders on top of them.  Needless to say, when I awoke and came to the realization that I had fallen asleep in class, my body jolted to attention and the fear of God filled me enough to keep me awake for the rest of that class period.

With Professor Bourne, there was a good amount of fear we each had when it came to class time. Not that we were literally afraid of him, but there was a clear understanding of his expectations and a vast amount of ministry and teaching experience which led us not to question his methods or motives.  Even when passing him in the hallway, you became nervous he might ask you to quote Matthew 5 off the top of your head.  You could say many of the students had the fear of Glenn Bourne in them.

The fear of the Lord.

This phrase, or variants of it, appears 12 times throughout the book of Proverbs. It does not refer to a literal fear of God – you know, almost pee your pants when you see them type of fear!!  Fear of the Lord involves a relationship with Him in which there is a clear recognition of the presence of the one with whom you are present.  When I was in college, it was when you passed Glenn Bourne in the hallway. Professor Bourne had the power, influence and experience to make our lives completely miserable and ruin our future with how he managed his class, but he didn’t.  When we have a fear of the Lord, it is a relationship in which we enjoy the presence of God, but with a healthy dose of respect and recognition of who we are in relationship with.

All throughout Proverbs, we will come across this phrase, “the fear of the Lord.” Don’t be afraid of it.  Just know it is a place in which we enjoy God’s presence, but also are so moved to make the most of every waking second we have with him.  The fear of the Lord does not drive us away like the ends of a magnet that repel each other, rather we are drawn in like a magnet with the right attraction to its source.  The fear of the Lord strengthens our connection with Him.

And for what it’s worth, just have part of Matthew 5 memorized in case He asks you about it.