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Fear and the Protection of Wisdom

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          Terrorism is a serious issue today. When the terror alert is raised, it doesn’t matter whether or not there is any real terrorist activity or an attack, the fact is, when there is more talk of a terrorist threat or the terror alert is raised a notch, people are terrified and many today are living in fear of an attack and therefore the goal and purpose of the terrorist is partially being accomplished, which is to terrorize people. Yes, they have a secondary goal of killing and causing other problems, as economic on the societies they are attacking, both America and Israel in particular because they are waging a Holy War known among them as the Third Great Jihad which they believe will culminate in the destruction (a victory over) America and the West and Israel.

          Yet their first goal is terror and fear. These are real emotions that are real and influence many. Some people try to deny these emotions and some try to suppress them and others try to ignore these emotions. But most people allow these emotions to dominate their lives and that is also shown in prophetic scriptures of the last days as scripture proclaims that men’s hearts would fail them because of fear (Luke 21:26). “Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” The shaking has begun and will get worse and worse until we see the fulfillment of Hebrews 12:26-27 “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”

          The Bible says much about fear and gives us many promises to deal with it. We are given 365 scriptures, one for every day of the year telling us, “do not fear”, “fear not” and with many promises telling us not to fear man or devil and that we can have victory over this fleshly emotion that is manipulated by the enemy of our souls, Satan. God tells us to deal with fear and doesn’t want us to fear and tells us “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7). God wants us to have victory over fear because fear can become an emotional prison. Fear can be stronger than chains. Fear can be more permanent than being on death row. Yet, we see in scripture than men of God, men of faith faced and had to deal with fear and overcame those fears.  There is victory in Jesus for “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” The name of Jesus is greater than fear!

The power of the Spirit of God that comes and resides in those who believe Jesus is greater than all the power of the enemy. But we have to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). We have to ask for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

All of God’s blessing and promises are available to the believer, but we must ask for that which we need. James 4:2 “ye have not, because ye ask not.” John 16:24 “… ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” So, you must know your need, then ask in faith, believing that you will receive. Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” It is our fault when the enemy runs roughshod over us because we are not believing and appropriating what God has provided for us at Calvary.

          Fear is of the Devil! If fear isn’t from God, and He said it isn’t, then it has to be from the Devil! Fear is the most powerful weapon in Satan’s arsenal. Fear is the Devil’s most deadly weapon. Secondly, because the Devil controls fear, he uses it to keep the people of God from ever reaching their full potential. Because the Devil is a liar and the father of lies according to John 8:44, he always masquerades fear under all kinds of rational explanations and cover-ups and what would be called acceptable and rational language like super caution, astute planning or self preservation or timidity or insecurity or whatever for those unwilling to be honest enough to call fear, fear.

But when Jesus died on the cross, He not only delivered us form sin and the power of sin and the consequences of sin, but He delivered us from having to fear (Hebrews 2:14-15). “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Fear equals bondage which equals spiritual prison. That is why Jesus repeatedly said, fear not to his followers. I am sure He said it many times that are not reported in scripture because we are not given all that Jesus said and did. But the fact is given here that through fear - the enemy of our souls keeps men in bondage.

If you fear men, you won’t do what you should, say what you should or stand up for what is right. If you fear what men will do to you, it will be a snare unto your soul. Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” That is why the church and this nation are in such trouble today. The church has failed to stand up and be heard and be salt and light in our society for some 50 years. Why? Fear! Fear of loosing a tax exemption, which make it a golden calf or idol more important than truth. Fear of displeasing someone or not being accepted because we wanted to be popular and accepted. That is not the way to spread the faith.

We have let the devil have his way and take over our society. But Jesus told us in Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” We have forgotten that that which is eternal is what is the most important and we have allowed the temporal to keep us from living the Christian life and be a witness for Christ is our society.

          There are many kinds of fear that we call phobias. Some are afraid of failure, others are afraid of success, believe it or not. Some are afraid of the past and some afraid of the future. Others are afraid of rejection or danger or heights. Some are afraid of their boss, afraid of their spouse, afraid of sickness or death. Whatever kind of fear you are subject to and that has a power or control over you, it is not of God, but of the Devil and that fear will keep you from being what God has called you to be. God is not the author of fear. All fear comes from the devil. God’s deepest longing is for His children to overcome fear and all that is of the devil. A thousand years before Christ, God spoke through Solomon and told us that only His wisdom can keep us from fear, can deliver us from fear.

          The conditions for protection from fear. Proverbs 2:1-4My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;” “IF” is a condition. You cannot experience this blessing, this benefit of God unless you meet the conditions. The condition of the promise of protection from fear, if you really want the reward, the dividend, the benefits of wisdom, then you must be receptive to God’s wisdom and also responsive to His wisdom and resolute to walk in God’s wisdom. That means obedience to do something, to obey God.

God gave man with the ability to choose, an ability no other creature was given on this planet. We were given the ability to reason, to analyze and choose and make decisions. But above all, he created us with a spirit that is eternal so that His Holy Spirit could come and dwell within our spirit and thereby unite us to Him. So, in addition to faith and believing prayer, we have to add obedience to God’s Word to receive the promises of God. Anyone walking in willful disobedience, willful sin and rebellion against God cannot receive His peace and security and have the knowledge that he or she is safe in Christ and there is nothing the devil can do to remove them from that place of safety and security that is given as a gift to God’s children who walk in obedience. Just consider men like Paul and Peter when imprisoned.

James, the brother of Jesus was just put to death by Herod. Then he takes Peter into custody with the express intent of putting him to death to please the Jews. What does Peter do? He goes to sleep and even after the angel of the Lord wakes him up and opens up the prison doors and lets Peter out in the street of the city, he thinks he has just had a vision, but finally comes to himself and realized what God has done. (Acts 12:1-11) The point is that Peter had no fear or anxiety or even seem to be worried that he was in prison awaiting death. He fully trusted God and believed the promise of the Lord that when he was an old man, someone else would take his hand and lead him. John 21:18 When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” The second part speaks of how he would die, but when he was old, not now.

          When Adam and Eve were created, they had the fullness of God’s spirit and presence, just like Jesus who came as the second Adam. But when they fell, they lost that presence of the abiding spirit of God and with it, the fellowship and communion they had with God. And unfortunately every one of us is born with that depravity, being born without the presence of God’s spirit and with the fallen genes of Adam and the ability to choose folly instead of wisdom. Unfortunately, without God coming into a person’s life and God’s Word directing their path, they will always choose folly rather than wisdom, because that must come from Christ, who is made unto us wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30).

          Scripture tells us that God send His Son, the second and final Adam that He might set us free from the enslavement of sin, so that He might set us free from depraved emotions and the fear that we lived in before coming to know Him.

          When the Holy Spirit indwells us, He enables us to choose the wisdom of God with all its blessings, protection and promises. Choosing Christ is choosing wisdom. To receive the blessings and benefit of wisdom you must not only be receptive and responsive to the conditions of wisdom, but you must have a commitment, being resolute to follow it and put it into practice.

Proverbs 2:4If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures.” When you are seeking a treasure that your life is dependant upon, you don’t’ stop after a few minutes or hours or days, but you keep on digging and mining and searching out to find that which you need and desire. You keep looking and searching because your life depends upon it. So, seeking the wisdom of God is like seeking a treasure. So, if you have prayed for it once or twice and haven’t yet received what you are asking for, it is not time to quit and abandon your search and desire, but to keep pressing forward for it. And yet, it is not a one time thing that you can pray for and then God gives you wisdom in a particular instance or time for a particular need, decision or problem that you can then say, okay, I got wisdom now and so I don’t need to do anything further, I don’t need to work or seek it any longer. No, it is a life pursuit and we always need new wisdom for new problems, decisions and circumstances that we face. To say because you received wisdom one time for one situation that you never need it again would be utter foolishness.

          There are challenges that hinder our pursuit of wisdom. True wisdom comes from the Word of God and you have to be resolute in digging for and uncovering the truth and treasures contained in the Word of God. Reading the Bible is like mining and the more you mine the more treasures you will find, like finding nuggets of gold and jewels. They are not on the surface. Those who read without understanding or comprehension, and even those who memorize scripture without applying it to their lives are missing the true treasures that can only come from the Word of God by revelation of the Spirit. It’s the Spirit that giveth life to the Word, making the Logos, Rhema, a living Word that has power in your life and situation. The Letter (without the Spirit) killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. 2 Corinthians 3:6 for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

          The condition of wisdoms perfection is that you must be receptive to its demand, responsive to its direction but you must be persistent and consistent in discovering its value. Then and only then fill you follow and obey that wisdom, that it change your life. Wisdom’s perfection has conditions, but also consequences.

          One of the consequences of wisdom’s perfection is in verses Proverbs 2:5-8. “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.”

The first consequence of wisdom is that you will stand in awe of God. You have to stand in awe of God, on a daily basis, even if only a few minutes before going to work, or in the evening time, of the mercy and grace and goodness of God. And when you stand in awe of God, He will fill your heart with wisdom and when He fills your heart with wisdom, then each time you open your mouth you will speak wisdom, you will speak edification and blessing. You will have something worthwhile, something edifying and encouraging to say to others.

People in the secular world view wisdom this way.

A magazine had the following announcement: “A large corporation recently installed a stray dog as a senior vice president.” Then the announcement in the company bulletin said, “His ability to get along with anyone, his prompt response to a pat on the back, his interest in watching others work and his great knack for looking wise while saying nothing makes him a natural for his position.”

Biblical wisdom is not that way at all. Biblical wisdom says that as you stand in awe of God, God will fill your heart with wisdom and therefore you will speak wisdom and where ever you go you will speak worthwhile things and edification. We began above with the fear of the Lord in Proverbs 2:5. “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, not the end of it. Why? Because the fear of the Lord will lead you to trust and trust (faith) will lead you to love and love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” You begin with fearing the Lord and the end result is that you end up without fearing. This is how the process works.

Proverbs 2:8He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.” When a judge pronounces a judgment against a wicked person and sentences him, what does he do? He says he is punishing the wicked, but he is doing something else that is even more important. He is protecting society from wickedness. He is protecting what is right and true. He is not merely condemning the wrong but also protecting the good. Unfortunately judges in America no longer punish the wicked and protect the righteous, but the opposite, making good evil and evil good. But here Solomon is saying that the object of wisdom is to protect us from the instability and onslaught of the wicked. And the qualification for a judge is that he fear God and judge righteous judgment. Only if…

Proverbs 2:9-11Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:” It says wisdom will bring you pleasure in the midst of pain, wisdom will bring you peace in the midst of chaos and confusion, wisdom will shelter you in its safe haven. Proverbs 2:12To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh forward (perverse or fraud) things;” Verse 12 says that God’s wisdom will shelter you from those who intend to mislead you. You know how that works? Some times people plot and scheme and plan to get you to do what you don’t want to do. They planned, schemed and plotted to get you to do what you shouldn’t, and you know it’s not right. But because they do it so diabolically you don’t see their trick until its too late.

Solomon is saying that God’s wisdom will keep you from being blindsided, misled and tricked by smooth deceptive words of the wicked. It will show you which way to go when you are uncertain which way to go. God’s wisdom will protect you from what is in the blind alley, where you don’t know what awaits you.

For instance, you could have multiple doors before you and you don’t know which way to go. What do you do? Unless you have clear direction, you have to do the same as what is referred to as trying or testing the spirits to see if they are of God, for not all are of God. You cautiously test a door and see if it opens without resistance. If not, you try another; all the while praying, Lord any door that is not of you, close it so that I can’t go that way because I only want to go where you send me. That which is of you, let it open easily and have your blessing and be obvious to me. Lord you said, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his wayPsalms 37:23.

I remember doing that when the Lord first brought me out of full time work in 1992 for full time ministry. He had told me in advance that I would be laid off when the company announced that it was having one and I had peace about it and was ready to go and told my co-workers and friends that I would be leaving. No one thought that I would be, because of my experience and ability and what I did, but I knew I would be let go.

Then afterward, I decided to make sure of whether of not that was a permanent thing and not just leaving that job. I wanted to be sure of whether or not I was to have any secular work and besides, I had to apply for work so that I could draw the unemployment benefits. But leaving full time work was of the Lord.

Every time I saw a position that I knew I could fill, looked good, even went for an interview and they told me I should get the job and then I prayed for the Lord’s will, to close the door if it wasn’t from Him, miraculously, something happened and I would get the call, I’m sorry, we wanted to hire you for this position, you’re the best qualified person we had, but today upper management came down and said, give that position to this man, because we don’t have a place for him and don’t want to let him go. He was not really qualified for the position, they would have to train him to do what I had done for years, but the hiring manager had no choice. God closed the door in answer to my question and prayer.

After this happened again and again, it because obvious that there was no question as to God’s will and direction for my life. At that time, my pastor told me don’t come out for full time work and give up secular work unless you don’t have a choice. Don’t come out if you don’t have to. Well, God made that choice. I tested the waters and proved out the change of direction for my life.

Some Christians will see a door, blast down the door, like they were blowing up something with dynamite and then walk through with the door still smoking and say, well the door is open, so God must be in this. This is surely of God. Wisdom doesn’t do that. Wisdom will not lead you to force God’s hand or even try to. God’s wisdom will give you direction of which way to go and peace at the same time.

There is the story of a young man who applied of a job as a pilot of a steamboat on the Mississippi. The man doing the interview was convinced that this young man was not the right one for the job and so he wanted to get the interview over very quickly. So he asked the young man, “Do you know where the rocks are? The young man replied, “No sir, I don’t know where the rocks are” And the interviewer was thinking in his mind, “I thought so.” But before he could end the interview the young man spoke out, “But I know where the rocks ain’t.” And he got the job.

Sometimes in your Christian walk you may not know where the rocks are, but you will know where they aren’t. God will show you where they are not. That is what Solomon is saying. Not only will wisdom’s protection fill your mouth with wisdom and edification, not only will it cradle and protect you from danger but God’s wisdom will protect you from evil people.

Proverbs 2:13-22Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.

He makes special emphasis on marital infidelity. There are forces in the world today that are working overtime to destroy the marriage covenants between husband and wife. There are countless forces today and wicked people today everywhere from network television to where ever you want to look, all making light of the marriage covenant with God. Paul said that the marriage relationship and covenant between an man and a woman is like the relationship and covenant between a believer and Christ.

How would you like it if when you did something wrong, God would just say, “I don’t like what you did, so I’m out of here and your on your own.” But that is the approach of many today about their marriage. Well, you don’t make me happy, so I don’t want you anymore, I’ll go find someone else. There are wicked people and forces, praying on the need of others and their emotions, men preying on married women and women preying on married men, trying to entice them out of their marriage covenant. There are men and women who see nothing wrong with fornication and try to push that on God’s people, even in the church. They are trying to set a trap for you.

All of these wicked and evil intents can be frustrated and destroyed if you are walking in wisdom and wisdom is protecting you. When the wicked mislead the believer into falling into a trap, he or she can only expect pain and grief and heartache. But when you are within the clutches of wisdom, wisdom will keep you from the heartache of betrayal, from the heartache of STD’s, the heartache of AIDS, the heartbreak of a child coming from someone who is not your spouse and from the heartbreak of anger and rejection. Wisdom will spare you all of these painful experiences if you are walking within the cradle of the wisdom of the Word of God.

In closing: Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:” Do you know that fear is of the devil? Do you know that the love that comes from faith in God and trusting Him will stop all fear? Faith comes from (1) hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and (2) from praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20). When you worship and spend time in prayer with the one you love, that love will fill you and drive out all fear. Also, spending time with Him and in His Word will give you wisdom that will keep, protect and direct your life to keep you from the snares of the enemy and give you peace where there was fear.

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