The fear of the Lord is a restraining influence for the believer, yet a reverential fear of God is generally lacking in today’s society. Our culture describes God as ‘love,’ but we must not forget, He was described as ‘Holy,’ long before, His loving nature was revealed in scripture. God’s love is both nurturing and corrective, albeit most focus solely upon His nurturing side. Scripture discloses many benefits of having a reverential fear of God and being receptive to His chastisement. Get ready to make notes as Carl shares many scriptures on the fear of the Lord…
Here is a complete transcript of the podcast…(below)
Let me ask you friend, is it a good thing to have a fear of the Lord? Well the term, “fear of the Lord” is mentioned 30 times in scripture and the vast majority of occurrences are in the OT. But there are however, well over one hundred references to the fear of God in a positive sense. Now what does it really mean to have a “fear of God” or a “fear of the Lord” as it’s sometimes presented in scripture, especially the OT?
Let me tell you right now, that the word fear in the Hebrew is usually either pa-khad or yir-ah. Pa-khad means terror, dread or the literal emotion of fear that one experiences in a dangerous situation. The other Hebrew term for fear is yir-ah and in contrast means piety, a state of reverence worship or awesomeness. So which one of these terms best describes the Father in heaven? The answer is both. We have to remember that God is love certainly (and that phrase is mentioned twice in the Apostle John’s First epistle, chapter four) but God was mentioned as Holy, long before He was ever mentioned as loving and few people wish to consider the mystery of the Holiness of God. The apostle John later went on to document God’s Holiness himself, in the book of revelation by witnessing the Seraphim’s that surround God’s throne, proclaiming “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come” (Rev. 4:8). Remember, God’s love is both nurturing and corrective but today people only seem to want to focus on the nurturing side of God. In fact, God is called Holy in His word more than any other attribute. Holy is indeed the epithet most often affixed to his name and our reverential fear or respect for God comes from understanding His Holiness. Friend if there is one thing missing from today’s society; it’s a sincere fear of the Lord.
Another way people place love above Holiness, is claiming that Jesus went around preaching love and acceptance. They say, Jesus went around preaching love and acceptance to everybody and he never judged anyone…..Really? Is that really true my friend was Jesus really like that? He was certainly a man who expressed friendship, or the companionship aspect of love. He was passionate about the truth no doubt, and certainly had compassion for many people and was moved to act by delivering them from bondage. And he also expressed agape love from the Father on numerous occasions but he was not preaching acceptance of everyone in their sinful condition and acceptance of all behavior, which is the way in which modern day progressives like to describe our Lord…. No friend that’s not how it went down. In fact Jesus was far more confrontational than people give Him credit for. He would not back down when the truth was questioned by the religious leaders of the day and he regularly confronted the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes.
Friend, we should have a reverential fear of God, just as Jesus expressed a reverential fear of His father but it was rooted upon a strong loving agape relationship, founded upon mutual respect and unconditional love for one another. We should worship God as the majestic creator of the universe and harbor a sober respect for Him because of His limitless capabilities and our best means to express our love for Him is to obey His commands. To obey Him, is to express our love for Him. The most pertinent example I can offer is that of an earthly Father. Growing up if you had a loving father you knew he loved you unconditionally, he would express that love to you with affection, and verbal reassurance and spending time with you, but there were also consequences for bad behavior or disobedience. Of course, this was not the focus of the relationship and any Father would be very reluctant to chastise his children but on occasion if warranted, chastisement in the form of verbal correction or even spanking was implemented.
Yes, I said it, that dirty word five letter word, ‘spank’ which some people think is on par with terrorism. I see it in the grocery store, a mother will shout out to her young child, “you do that one more time,” ” you do that one more time, ” you do that one more time and I’ll …and the child Is like and what? What are you going to do exactly? You’ve already proven you’re not going to do anything. The child has already called the parent’s bluff. The parent has demonstrated to the child that they’re not going to follow through with the threat of correction and not only promoted further disobedience but a complete disregard for the term, consequences. Friend, a child that’s not corrected is not loved. Proverbs 29:15,”But a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”
This reverential fear or respect for parents and ultimately, God could be summed up by the words of Jesus, when He said, 28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him (talking about God the Father) who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” Mt 10:28. Wow! Friend, what a sober warning we should heed from Jesus himself. Our God is to be loved, respected and feared. Some people think it’s so cute that Pastor has this nice little teaching slot on the radio to teach people about God, so we can learn so much etc. but friend there are consequences for not receiving Christ and they are too terrible to imagine. Pastors don’t talk about Hell anymore and consequently very few people believe it still exists. But friend I’ve got news for you, Hell believes in you whether you believe in it or not and awaits your coming unless you know Christ as Savior. In Isa 14:9 in the NLT “In the place of the dead* there is excitement over your arrival. The spirits of world leaders and mighty kings long dead stand up to see you.”This is sobering.
Now people love Jesus, they can imagine what he looked like; he walked the dusty roads of Israel, Judea and Samaria etc., but who exactly is the Father? They’re just not sure about God the Father and especially the mean God of the OT. They think that at any moment the OT God’s going to smite you with his big stick, who sits on his Big white throne, with his big white fluffy beard, in a grumpy mood all the time, ready to smite with his smiter, that is how some people think of God friend. Now, did you know Jesus was the exact representation of the Heavenly father? The same loving and compassionate Jesus who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, was the exact representation of God the Father on earth. Remember, there is one God with three personalities. Friend, we don’t serve a schizophrenic or capricious God, as some people think we do, oh I love Jesus but I’m not sure about God Father; He’s like that OT God, in a bad mood all the time. No friend, God the Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit are one and the same! We don’t serve a loving Jesus and a nasty God. No, remember what Jesus said to Phillip:
John 14:9 “Jesus said unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?”
It also says in scripture that Jesus came from the bosom of the father. And the Apostle John also expounds upon the goodness of our heavenly Father….then in John 15:24 Jesus says,
“If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my father.”
So, if you love Jesus’ friend, then you love the Father and if you hate Jesus, you hate the Father. They are one and the same in terms of their character. Now while we’re on the topic, a special shout out should go to several biblical characters that are explicitly said to have exemplified the fear of God in particular. After Abraham obeyed God’s command by showing his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac, an angel of the Lord declared to him, “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son” (Gen 22:12 NIV). In the case of Abraham, he was willing to sacrifice something so treasured as his own Son, because He loved God so much and sought to do His will above all else. That friend is a great example to us of what the fear of the Lord means. It’s sacrificial obedience to God almost to the point where it hurts us.
Now there are two observations here #1) God was merely testing Abraham and never intended for him to actually slay his own son and #2) few people remember that Abraham believed in the resurrection of His son, who was a type of Jesus to come. “5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you” (Gen 22:5). Friend, by Abraham’s own testimony, he believed that even after Isaac was sacrificed on the altar, that both he and Isaac would return to the young man, waiting with the donkeys. Wow friend, that is powerful, that is the correct reverential fear of the Lord we should have, that’s deeply rooted in trust.
In another example, Joseph a man of the utmost integrity attempted to allay his brothers’ fears with the comment, “I fear God” (Gen 42:18). God himself twice describes Job as “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8; 2–3 NIV).
- The fear of the Lord will cause you to make sacrifices in your life for the Lords will that may be quite difficult at times, but God will ask you to do so, knowing he has a plan for your blessing and not harm.
- A fear of the Lord will prevent you from succumbing to peer pressure and prevent you from sinning.
- And finally, the Fear of the Lord will cause you to run from and discard evil as an option.
Friend, the fear of the Lord is a fundamental quality of people who know and obey God. Let me list for you real quick some of the blessings mentioned in scripture regarding the fear of the Lord:
- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 9:10)
- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7)
- The fear of the Lord lengthens life (Prov. 10:27)
- The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life (Prov. 14:27)
- The fear of the Lord is his treasure (Isa. 33:6)
- In the fear of the Lord there is security (Prov. 14:26)
- Blessed are those who fear the Lord (Ps. 112:1; Ps. 128:1; Ps. 128:4)
- To fear the Lord is to hate evil (Prov. 8:13)
- The fear of the Lord will keep you from sinning (Exod. 20:20)
- He who walks in uprightness fears the Lord (Prov. 14:2)
- Let all the earth fear the Lord (Ps. 33:8)
Friend, I think it’s fitting to let me end this broadcast with the final words of King Solomon from the book of Ecclesiastes, which pretty much puts the fear of the Lord in the right perspective:
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Eccl 12:13-14)
Notice, Fearing God and keeping His commandments are one and the same. We don’t keep his commandments as robots who’ve no choice in the matter but we keep them because we love the Lord and don’t seek to grieve or hurt Him. Yes friend, we can even grieve Holy Spirit and we should choose not to do so. What better way to express your love for the Lord than to obey God’s commandments. If you fear God reverentially, you will choose to cooperate with His process of Sanctification in your life and that by definition is voluntarily choosing to be conformed to the image of His dear Son, Jesus Christ, which is a process in your soul, until you leave this earth.
And in closing, by sharp contrast, under no circumstances, should we ever fear Satan or his cohorts as we have authority over them, I’ve touched upon this many times in previous broadcasts. We’re to submit to God with reverential fear, resist the devil and let the devil flee from you in terror. Friend, this is a message on the fear of the Lord but I want you to get the right perspective. We have such a loving Heavenly Father; we’re not supposed to cower in fear because we’re already in right relationship. When we’re judged in heaven, we’re not going to be judged about our salvation because it’s already assured. His mercy endures forever.
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