According to God, Solomon is the wisest man ever (1 Kings 3:12). Do you know
anyone who rivals Solomon? Who has oered the most wisdom to you in the
course of your lifetime?
This week, we will explore why the prophets, the saints, the gospel writers, God,
David, Solomon, and even Jesus tell us to fear God. According to the wisest man,
Solomon, the fear of the Lord is the beginning and the end of all wisdom (Proverbs
1:7, Ecclesiastes 12:3). As we look at fear in relation to freedom this week, we
explore the two types of fear: the “fear of man” and the “fear of the Lord.” Scripture
asserts that the fear of the Lord is actually the anecdote to the fear of man (or of all
the things that “man” can do to us). As we turn our gaze to the One who has power
over all things, we begin to be loosed of the obsessive gaze at the myriad of terrible
lesser gods/fears that have dominated our minds and our lives.
Read Luke 12:4. Jesus begins this discourse with the clear “Do not fear” that we see time and again throughout scripture. Here he asserts that killing the body is the worst man can do to us. How does that resonate with you? Are you able to even consider the “after that [they] have no more that they can do”? What do you make of Jesus seemingly making light of death as not having the final say–not being the greatest thing to fear?
Read Luke 12:5. It is one thing to command an end to fear and another thing entirely to comply. Instead of a blank “Stop it!” that is so hard to obey, Jesus seems to be giving an alternative to the fear of man: Instead of fearing man, fear God. How does the alternate suggestion strike you? Does it rub you the wrong way? Does it challenge your picture of Jesus?
Read Luke 12:6-7. This assertion of God’s extravagant attention and love and of our great value in His eyes seems in direct contrast to the prior sentence. How do you make sense of Christ’s shift to the Father’s great love for us?
Read 1 John 4:18. This verse is talking about the fear of man. However, the fear of God includes love in a way that the fear of man can’t. Explore the link between Christ’s redemptive act on the cross and punishment. What does our certainty of not being punished do in relation to our fear of God?
Share with the group what hit you or stood out to you most during the discussion,
and ask for prayer.
Pair up and pray for one another. Name your greatest fear, and imagine your fear as
quaking before the Most Fearsome One, God your defender. Often the fear of what
may or may not happen is held in our minds in a vacuum where God does not exist.
Imagine your worst fear, and then imagine God present to help you through that.
Use this prayer time as an act of faith that nothing–not even your worst fear–can
separate you from the love of God. Determine together with the one you are
praying to shift your gaze away from your fears to the face of the mightiest One of
all creation. Begin to praise Him for His power and authority over all things, including your fears.
Job 1-2 Psalm 54
Job 3-4 Psalm 55
Job 5-6 Psalm 56
Job 7-8 Psalm 57
Job 9-10 Psalm 58
Job 11 Psalm 59