“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’ Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens… But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.
“Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, ‘When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.’ But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live… So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong.” Exodus 1:8-17,20
“By the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.” Proverbs 16:6
“They said before the king, ‘Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition [in prayer] three times a day.’” Daniel 6:13
“Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men.'” Acts 5:29
Knowing who God is and how He works, begets bold, reverent fear of Him. And bold fear of God begets brave faith in the face of any kind of challenge, threat, or opposition. When we know that we know God as King, both benevolent and sovereign, we gladly, humbly, and without fear of man serve Him and His instructions. When He has our full allegiance, no other tempts.
Why are we so weak in the world, so soft to hurt and offenses, touchy and self-coddling? Certainly, we have constant pressure from media, our culture, and academia, to elevate and pamper ourselves, and let feelings dictate reaction and decision. But the Bible says, fear God first. Reverence His throne that is above any other, His power that is superior to all, His ways and thoughts that rule far beyond our temporal ones. The midwives feared God more than man because He was worthy of it. (Isaiah 55:8-9; Philippians 2:9)
How do we develop this bold fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom? (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10) How do we transform warped thinking and allegiances and affections into godly priorities? If we would love and embrace wisdom and instruction, and practice it, we gain knowledge of the Holy One. The devil will entice us toward self, but our Lord says He must be first. (Luke 4:5-8)
What, and whom, do I fear? Have I enthroned any foreign entity where my Lord rightfully belongs?
Father, may I fear and worship You rightly, and live out each day in brave faith.