Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 – “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” NKJV
Before you protest consider the reverential fear that the Hebrews had of God. They so revered and feared Him they dared not even pronounce His name. In much of today’s church we have so reduced the ALMIGHTY He has become our buddy rather than our God. Before you completely turn me off offended I fully believe that God wants us to be so comfortable coming to Him that on one hand we do so as a child would to their doting earthly father and on the other to so revere Him that we tremble in His presence.
Psalm 111:10 tells us that “The fear of the LORD, is the beginning of wisdom…” Proverbs 1:7 declares, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” Hebrews 10:31 brings in another dimension, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the LIVING GOD.” Jesus told us in Matthew 10:28, “…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Peter brings in the holiness of God in 1 Peter 1:16, “…Be holy, for I am holy.” In addressing His followers Jesus addressed the need for righteousness in Matthew 5:20, “…unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Proverbs 8:13 teaches that FEARING GOD results in hating evil: pride, arrogance and every evil way. Proverbs 14:26 declares that FEARING GOD gives strong confidence and a safe refuge. Psalm 33:8 tells us that all the earth is to FEAR GOD and man is to stand in AWE of Him. Deuteronomy 10:12 we read that God requires of man that we FEAR Him, WALK in His ways, LOVE Him, and SERVE Him with all our heart and soul. Proverbs 14:27 reveals that FEARING God is a fountain of life and a deliverance from the snares of death. Psalms 25:4 declares, “The secret of the LORD is with them that FEAR Him and He will show them His covenant.” Luke 1:50 proclaims that God’s Mercy is on those who FEAR Him and it is passed from generation to generation. The Psalmist prayed in 86:11, “Teach me Thy way, O LORD; I will walk in Thy truth: Unite my heart to FEAR Thy Name.”
I suggest and believe that the FEAR of God has its foundation in reverence and respect but the dimension of God’s sovereignty cannot be ignored. The FEAR of the LORD motivates us to please Him, keep His commandments and walk in His ways. We are to LOVE the LORD and one could argue that you cannot truly LOVE and FEAR at the same time. In a completely earthly view I would agree but we are not talking about man’s relationship with man we are talking about man’s relationship with the PURELY HOLY GOD of all creation. We are talking about a relationship with one who loves unconditionally and judges impartially. We are not talking about the kind of FEAR that paralyzes but the kind of FEAR that out of love, respect and reverence motivates the heart to HOLINESS and PURITY.
However, I suggest that the church today, for the most part, exhibits no FEAR of God. It is as though we somehow have been conditioned to think that God will wink at sin and judgment will not be sure and final. Can you remember when you trembled at the thought of His presence and sin broke your heart? Can you remember when you travailed in prayer hours on end over sin in your own life or the life of someone you loved or knew? Maybe you still do and that is great but how often do we see believers moved to travail over sin? We are so conditioned by sin around us that it no longer breaks hearts and we hear people saying and doing things that in days gone by would have brought fear to our hearts. Things transpire in the name of religion that are sheer blasphemy and we are largely unmoved by it.
When the believers FEAR God revival will break out, the winds of restoration and renewal will begin to blow and our reverence of holiness will return. Much of today’s church is engaged in self-determination, numeric advancement in the local body and recognition rather than the Righteousness of God. God is about to allow the church to taste persecution and that will either cause us to return to our first love, move us to political correctness to escape the difficulty or a root of bitterness will spring and up and defilement result.
I know that is a harsh word and one that many will reject telling me, “But God is a God of Love” and a message on holiness is not justified in the New Testament church. Believe that if you choose but one day we will stand before Him none of us want to hear, “Depart from Me for I never knew you” as we argue “Lord, look at all we have done…”
God bless you and may God move your heart to seek first Him, His kingdom and His righteousness. Blessings upon you is my genuine prayer and desire!