Floating in a small above-ground pool on a soft waterline level raft, bucket hat shading my face, drifting toward sleep when I cracked an eye and saw a black widow spider crawling in front of my face on the brim of my hat. The moment was ruined and fear, splashing, and panic ensued.

Prior to this experience, I was praying to the Lord and asking for insight into how the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7, 2:6) goes with discovering knowledge of God. There are important differences and similarities between fearing the Lord and fearing a spider.

Both could hurt you.
People may shun one or both of them.
Healthy fear of them leads to wise precautions.
Neither typically forces their way into our lives or demands our fear or attention.
One is trustable and the fear-of draws us closer.
Fear of the other pushes us away.

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:7

Not being wise in one’s own eyes means never feeling like we’ve arrived or figured it out. Never being sufficient without the Lord. It means trusting his truth to guide us, not what we see in the world.

I thought I was being wise. Before going into the pool, my bucket hat hung on a hook outside. There was a spider web near the hook, so I checked the hat thoroughly, I was certain I looked at every nook and space over the whole hat inside and out. My eyes and my system let me down. Human ways always do.

Fearing the Lord protects us from sin’s bite and the venom of foolishness. Fear the Lord, turn from ways of evil and webs of deception that the world weaves around us.

By John Riley
Junior High Pastor

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