Whom Shall I Fear?
By: Debbie Przybylski, crosswalk.com
“Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name” – (Psalm 86:11).
As you look at your present life, what do you personally fear? You may be presently struggling with a fear that has gripped your heart deeply. Satan has released a spirit of fear all over the world, but the fear of the Lord counterattacks enemy fear. In light of this fact, we must learn not only about the fear of the Lord but how to walk in the fear of the Lord. Is it your deep desire to learn about the fear of the Lord?
Maybe you wonder, “What does it really mean to fear the Lord?
Some people think that fearing the Lord is like driving down the street while watching a policeman in your rearview mirror. But this is not a true picture of what the fear of the Lord is. It’s more like a teenage driver who suddenly sees her father in the rearview mirror. She quickly puts on her best behavior in driving—eyes on the road, no texting, and stopping at a yellow light. But this tells her that her father really cares enough to follow her. She’s safe. She knows that he is trying to help her develop good driving habits by obeying the laws and staying safe until she gets home. She’s driving but not completely on her own.
For us as God’s people, the fear of the Lord is like living with our heavenly father in the rearview mirror. When we look up we see His wonderful holiness, care, and love. Our fear of Him is mixed with reverence, trust, and love.
To fear the Lord is an extremely positive subject (Isaiah 11:3, Psalm 19:9, 12-14). Jesus delighted Himself in the fear of the Lord. Our hearts are designed in the same way. In the Bible there are at least 300 references to the fear of God. To truly fear the Lord is a joy and a supreme delight when we see it the way God desires. It is not to be afraid of the Lord but to be in awe of Him. But it also can be terrifying as we look at our personal sin in light of God’s consuming fire. Romans 3 is a main chapter on sin that tells us that our chief sin is to have no fear of God (v. 18).
The godly men of the Bible feared God. Joseph was a god-fearing man (Genesis 42:18). Moses feared God and chose god-fearing leaders (Exodus 18:21). David, Daniel, Abraham, and other Bible characters walked in the fear of the Lord. Jesus Himself said not to fear those who can kill the body, but to only fear God (Matthew 10:28).
To live a vibrant and holy life like the godly men of the Bible, we must walk in the fear of the Lord.
We all want a vibrant life. We want a life full of energy, enthusiasm, vim and vigor. We want one that is vivacious, dynamic, passionate, and exciting. This is the dictionary definition of vibrant. Unfortunately we do not often see this. When I look around the world, I see people filled with fear, unhappiness, apathy, and pain. But as Christians we want our lives to be filled with the awe and wonder of God. We want to look forward to the future, instead of living in fear and uncertainly. If we want to find true success, we must live according to God’s design. When we value what He values, our lives will be blessed.
There is no better time to learn about the fear of the Lord as now when human fears are at an all time high. This is the day where we must put the fear of the Lord at the front of all other ambitions. The times we are encountering require it.
Let’s realize that there are so many rewards of fearing the Lord. Here are just a few of the 300+ Bible verses about the fear of the Lord. Quiet your heart and take time to meditate on what the fear of the Lord gives you and what this means in your own personal life: knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27) healing and refreshment (Proverbs 3:7-8), strength to turn from evil (Proverbs 16:9), wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), provision (Psalm 34:9), confidence and refuge (Proverbs 14:26), God’s goodness (Proverbs 31:19), deliverance (Psalm 34:7), mercy (Psalm 103:11), care (Psalm 33:18-19), contentment (Proverbs 15:16), prolonged life (Proverbs 10:27), a satisfying life (Proverbs 19:23), God’s watchful care (Psalm 33:18-19), holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1), and so much more!
In light of these rewards, it is so important that we make it our goal to fear the Lord. If we want to grow in holiness, our long-term success is in the context of the fear of the Lord. We must determine within ourselves to be well-pleasing to God. As Christians, our lives are being set apart unto God and set apart from sin. We live in the presence of a holy, just, and almighty God.
God Sees, Cares, and Rewards
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” – (2 Chronicles 16:9).
We must be aware of God’s presence. He holds us accountable for our words, thoughts, motives, and actions. We must consciously realize that He is watching, that He cares, and that He remembers what we do and rewards us.
- God sees –We are often so concerned about what others think about us and how they judge what we do. How much more should we be concerned about God’s evaluation of our words, thoughts, actions, attitudes, and motives! He sees us in the hidden place of our heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Every hour of our life is meaningful because God sees us completely. As we grow in this minute-by-minute awareness, we will grow in the fear of the Lord. See Hebrews 4:12-13.
- God cares and remembers –He is involved in our lives and passionate about what He sees. He finds great value in our daily choices to love Him. Even when we give a glass of water in His name, He takes notice. He cherishes every movement of our heart towards Him. If we repent of the bad things we do, God will forget our sin. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). See Malachi 3:16-17, Proverbs 16:2, and Psalms 56:8.
- God rewards – When we stand before Him, He will openly reward us (Matthew 6:6, Psalm 45:7, 86:11, 98:10, Proverbs 1:29,31, Romans 12:9).
“The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous… By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:9-11).
The fear of the Lord is a holy fear where we learn to stand in awe and respect the good, greatness, and glorious nature of God. It should be our desire to be near the Lord and to love what He loves and hate what He hates. Through fearing the Lord we can become all that He desires and accomplish that which is beyond our own ability in the natural. God wants our fear of Him to be above every other fear in life.
You may feel that your actions are often mundane, insignificant, and makes very little difference in life. But take notice of this: God sees and cherishes every single thing you do for His glory. Your daily choices to love Him bring great joy to His heart. Realize that God holds the world in His hands and that nothing formed against you shall stand. He is your Strength and Shield. He goes before you and reigns forever. Your God is faithful and always by your side. He is the one you must fear and no other. In my next article we will learn about how to walk in the fear of the Lord.
Let’s ask God to give us a minute-by-minute awareness of His presence and consciously choose today to walk in the fear of the Lord.
After a baby takes his first steps, the parents call loved ones. They excitedly announce the awesome accomplishment, which is the beginning of a new life of greater mobility and maturity. In the same way, the Christian life begins with a first step—salvation. But it’s only the start of a new life of increasing spiritual growth.
When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?” they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). It’s simple enough that even a child can do it, and after salvation, we are all like babies taking our first steps. A new believer doesn’t understand all the doctrines of salvation any more than a toddler knows all the mechanics of walking. However, once we are saved, we have a responsibility to learn what God has done for us and to take more steps of obedience in the Christian life.
Genuine salvation always results in transformation. When we receive Jesus as our personal Savior, He comes to live within us through the Holy Spirit. Our old way of life no longer fits our new identity, and the Spirit works within us to make us more like Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Has there been a particular point in your life when you recognized your sin and then asked Jesus to forgive you and become your Savior? If so, how has your life been transformed since then? Spiritual growth is one of the ways we can know that we are saved.
“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foes and the avenger.” – Psalm 8:2 NIV
The Bible makes clear: there is a direct relationship between children (and all they symbolize) and spiritual growth, maturity, and power. Jesus taught that we cannot even enter God’s Kingdom unless we enter like a little child (Luke 18:17). We need childlike faith.
Learning this truth, David described how praise is ordained “from the lips of children and infants.” As he discovered, this kind of praise brings victory and power.
We often think victory is achieved by those with numerical advantages, economic assets, or special talents. But David says that the factor that will “silence” our adversaries is the praise that comes from the heart of those with childlike faith and complete trust in God.
Young children provide the perfect example. They have no doubts and simply know that loving parents can be counted upon and trusted.
We need to have this same kind of childlike faith in God and His promises. This kind of confidence gives us a completely new attitude. It removes doubt and fear. It bubbles over into praise and hearts filled with gratitude. Resting in Him, we cannot contain our joy and don’t need to hold back.
At the same time, focusing on ourselves can foster doubt and worry when we realize our own weaknesses and the flaws of other people. We worry when we don’t have faith in God.
Ask God to help you trust Him with childlike simplicity. Commit your needs to Him. Praise Him.
Mercy, omnipotence, and justice
“The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.” Nahum 1:3
Suggested Further Reading: Nehemiah 9:9-31
Have you ever observed that scene in the garden of Eden at the time of the fall? God had threatened Adam, that if he sinned he should surely die. Adam sinned: did God make haste to sentence him? ‘Tis sweetly said, “The Lord God walked in the garden in the cool of the day.” Perhaps that fruit was plucked at early morn, maybe it was plucked at noon-tide; but God was in no haste to condemn; he waited till the sun was well nigh set, and in the cool of the day came, and as an old expositor has put it very beautifully, when he did come he did not come on wings of wrath, but he “walked in the garden in the cool of the day.” He was in no haste to slay. I think I see him, as he was represented then to Adam, in those glorious days when God walked with man. Methinks I see the wonderful similitude in which the unseen did veil himself: I see it walking among the trees so slowly—if it is right to give such a picture—beating its breast, and shedding tears that it should have to condemn man. At last I hear its doleful voice: “Adam, where art thou? Where hast thou cast thyself, poor Adam? Thou hast cast thyself from my favour; thou hast cast thyself into nakedness and into fear; for thou art hiding thyself. Adam, where art thou? I pity thee. Thou thoughtest to be God. Before I condemn thee I will give thee one note of pity. Adam, where art thou?” Yes, the Lord was slow to anger, slow to write the sentence, even though the command had been broken, and the threatening was therefore of necessity brought into force.
Streams in the Desert – June 20
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
You will hear a word spoken behind you, saying, “This is the correct way, walk in it,” whether you are heading to the right or the left. (Isa 30:21)
When we are in doubt or difficulty, when many voices urge this course or the other, when prudence utters one advice and faith another, then let us be still, hushing each intruder, calming ourselves in the sacred hush of God’s presence; let us study His Word in the attitude of devout attention; let us lift up our nature into the pure light of His face, eager only to know what God the Lord shall determine—and ere long a very distinct impression will be made, the unmistakable forth-telling of His secret counsel.
It is not wise in the earlier stages of Christian life to depend on this alone, but to wait for the corroboration of circumstances. But those who have had many dealings with God know well the value of secret fellowship with Him, to ascertain His will.
Are you in difficulty about your way? Go to God with your question; get direction from the light of His smile or the cloud of His refusal.
If you will only get alone, where the lights and shadows of earth cannot interfere, where human opinions fail to reach and if you will dare to wait there silent and expectant, though all around you insist on immediate decision or action—the will of God will be made clear; and you will have a new conception of God, a deeper insight into His nature and heart of love, which shall be for yourself alone a rapturous experience, to abide your precious perquisite forever, the rich guerdon of those long waiting hours.
“STAND STILL,” my soul, for so thy Lord commands:
E’en when thy way seems blocked, leave it in His wise hands;
His arm is mighty to divide the wave.
“Stand still,” my soul, “stand still” and thou shalt see
How God can work the “impossible” for thee,
For with a great deliverance He doth save.
Be not impatient, but in stillness stand,
Even when compassed ’round on every hand,
In ways thy spirit does not comprehend.
God cannot clear thy way till thou art still,
That He may work in thee His blessed will,
And all thy heart and will to Him do bend.
“BE STILL,” my soul, for just as thou art still,
Can God reveal Himself to thee; until
Through thee His love and light and life can freely flow;
In stillness God can work through thee and reach
The souls around thee. He then through thee can teach
His lessons, and His power in weakness show.
“BE STILL”—a deeper step in faith and rest.
“Be still and know” thy Father knoweth best
The way to lead His child to that fair land,
A “summer” land, where quiet waters flow;
Where longing souls are satisfied, and “know
Their God,” and praise for all that He has planned.