*Edited.Originally posted on 9/27/09
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse:
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him--
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord--
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
--Isaiah 11:1-3a (NIV)
This passage is a prophecy about Jesus. I read this a couple weeks ago, and it really made me stop and think, "How do you delight in the fear of the Lord?" Isn't it remarkable that in all the wonders gifted to Him by the Spirit, it is the fear of the Lord that He delights in?
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, the foundation of wisdom. The book of Proverbs is profuse in declaring all the good that fear of the Lord brings. Further Bible study into the phrase would produce a treasure trove. But to delight in it seems to be an oxymoron.
I took a look at Biblegateway.com to see if other translations could shed light on this. Most of the English translations use "delight." The KJV says, "shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord," and the Amplified does, too, but still adds a "delight" in there. The Young's Literal Translation reads "To refresh him in the fear of Jehovah."
It could mean that there is joy when we obey which is what the Contemporary English Version is driving at in their translation. But I found this passage from The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis to be a brilliant description: "Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too."
Shasta has just learned that it was Aslan that frightened him to join Aravis at the beginning. Aslan was the cat that comforted him in the tombs; the Lion that drove away the jackals. He gave Bree and Hwin fear to help speed them on to the hermit. And it was Aslan that gave Aravis a bloody wound.
We can't have the fullness of joy in His presence (Psalm 16:11) if we only accept a piece of who He is. We must remember He can give and take away (Job 1:21). To deny not only His ability but His right to do that is to deny His majesty and authority. If we refuse His Lordship, then how can we call Him God? If He is not God, we have no salvation and all His promises are empty.
We tremble in His presence because everything about Him, from His Love to His Dominion, is beyond our comprehension. We fear Him because all things are under His feet. He has wounded us and will not tell us why, but we come to understand that His thoughts are not our thoughts. When we see how great He is, we surrender to find He gives us immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine, far beyond that which turns to rust or mold.
A wimpy god that can be manipulated is not the God who gave His Son. True fear doesn't send us cowering in a corner. True godly fear that causes us to delight, causes us to live life to the full.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
--Ephesians 1:17-23 (NIV)