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In a crazy move, a woman at the Toronto zoo who lost her hat at the tiger enclosure decided that she was going to retrieve it. She climbed the outer fence, dropped over the edge and scrambled around to find her hat. Fortunately for her there was a second fence between her and her hat. A bystander captured the video of a tiger desperately running back and forth in front of the wire cage trying to find a way to get at the woman to have an early lunch. This woman’s fear of the tiger was not nearly what it should’ve been. She was almost casual in her approach to retrieving her hat. Others watched horrified, some screamed and parents covered the eyes of their children. The woman found her hat and climbed back over the wall that separated her from the tiger. She did not fear the tiger.

The Bible says “Fear the Lord.” We might wish there is a better word that the Bible uses instead of fear. In Hebrew, this word is used when people are in terror for their lives, and it’s the same word used for awe and respect. Too many people have become bored in their knowledge of God, either because it’s partial and inaccurate or because it is distant and detached. .

Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. An awe-inspiring, even terrifying understanding of who God is in your life. But the analogy is incomplete if we leave out the fact that God is as loving as he is fearsome. He is fearsome and good. Without a complete understanding of who God is, seeking wisdom from a God who brings up uncomfortable issues of correction for us to face is fearsome without love attached. Only God, who is awesome and even fearsome in nature but who also loves us unconditionally can instruct us in such a way that we become wise. When we cry out for wisdom, we also cry out for deep and personal knowledge of the wisdom of God-the God who inspires both fear and love.

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