Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 24:21 My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, 22 for disaster will arise suddenly from them, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
To Fear And Not To Fear
So far in chapter 24 we have heard Solomon speak quite a lot about not desiring to walk with the wicked and follow their ways… Who we fellowship with tells us who we are and who we are becoming. We also learned not to be deceitful and underhanded and be self serving like the wicked but rather to stand up for the helpless and hurting around us. In the last couple devotions we looked at how we should not envy or be jealous of the wicked… Now Solomon is saying not to join with the wicked and more specifically not to join with those who do not fear the Lord and the king but rather to fear them both.
Alright, the thing Solomon puts first is that he says to fear the Lord… why should we fear God?
Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Now I have heard it said before that the kind of fear we should have toward God is something more like a reverent fear. While that is true… we cannot exclude the most extreme fear one can imagine. We should not belittle or downplay the holiness of God. Our unholiness in that we seek to take the glory that belongs to God for ourselves and we rebel and are disobedient and we have been believing the promises of the world over him…. Our brokenness should bring us to our knees before God in his perfection of love and justice; his righteousness in character and attributes.
Ok, now here is something interesting I think… and amazing… When we fear the Lord there is an aspect of fear that is removed… When we fear God and bow before him in trust… the fear of everything else disappears.
So we just read in Matthew 10:28 how we should fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. But the next two verses tells how God removes other fears.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?i And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Pretty amazing right? We don’t fear man even when he makes threats, we don’t fear not having our needs met, and we don’t even fear the wrath of God as we did before because Jesus took the wages of our sin on the Cross and he imputed his righteousness into us so that's how God sees us.
1st John 4:17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Finally why should we fear the king?
Well I think Solomon was sure that God was the one who set him up as king. The Lord was the one who gave him the authority he had… But I think this truth goes beyond Solomon.
The Bible tells us that God is the one who sets up authority in the whole world. Even evil comes into authority because God in his sovereignty and knowledge sets it up that way… not only in governments but in homes and organizations. Accountability to authority is much better than if every person were for themselves in the world. Who doesn’t agree that this is a must in sports and business… Everyone cannot be the leader or we will all be going different directions and never accomplish the goal.
1st Peter 2:13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
... 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.
However to understand the context of that… for example what if the Emperor goes against the Lord? Who should we be subject to? I think common sense is clear but Paul gives us more clarity in responding to authority when he tells children how they should honor their parents…
Ephesians 6:1 says: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
So we should not fear or honor others to the point of going against the Lord…