Statement of Faith Current Teaching Teaching Index
What it means to Fear God!
March 2015

“Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.  But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!”  And he said, "Here am I.”  He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy, or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me”  (Genesis 22:10-11).

Fearing God makes one walk in obedient to God!

        It was through an act of obedience to a specific command of God that God knew Abraham’s heart was fixed to love and trust Him.  It is never what we say to God but what we do for Him that demonstrates our fear.  Jesus confirmed this in many ways as He sought to bring His disciples to this same kind of faith.  Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).  Once Abraham obeyed God’s command to sacrifice his son Isaac – the Angel of the Lord said this; "for now, I know that you fear God" (Ref. Genesis 22:12). 

        Notice how Jesus in Matthew 7:21 places obedience in relation to entering the Kingdom of Heaven.  To enter the Kingdom of Heaven does not mean you will automatically go to heaven when you die however.  It includes this absolutely!  But it does not mean it's a sure thing.  What it does mean, is those who fear God will enter into the full experi­ence of God’s rule and reign in their life here on earth.  Just like Abraham experienced God and His presence in ever-increas­ing measures in his life.

This is an accurate picture of Abraham's relationship with God.  He had learned who God was and he trembled, in awe (fear) of Him.  His fear of God led him to take this ultimate step of faith and obedience.  God knew that his response to killing his son was one that was conjoined his whole heart and soul.

           The inevitable result of Fearing God is walking with God in absolute Obedience!

The "Fear of the Lord" in the Old Testament is used as a designation of true piety (Ref. Proverbs 1:7; Job 28:28; Psalm 19:9). It is a fear united together with love and hope, and is therefore not a slavish fear, but rather such affection as a child naturally bears to his parents. This fear produces the same duty or obedience as a child owes to his parents (Compare Deuteronomy 32:6; Hosea 11:1; Isaiah 1:2, 63:16, 64:8). God is called “the Fear of Isaac” (Genesis 31:42, 53), i.e., the God whom Isaac feared.  This holy fear is enjoined also in the New Testament as a preventive of carelessness in religion, and as an incentive to penitence (Compare Matthew 10:28; 2 Corinthians 5:11, 7:1; Philippians 2:12; Ephesians 5:21; Hebrews 12:28-29). 

        What God is looking for is someone who fears Him.  This may surprise you.  You may have thought that God would have said to Abraham as he was sacrificing his only son, “Now I know that you love Me and trust Me!”  But He didn’t!  God did say, “Now I know that you fear Me” (Genesis. 22:12).  The simple fact is that God wants us first to “fear Him” (Acts 2:43; 5:5, 11; 9:3 1; 19:17).

Now look at; Exodus 20:20“And Moses said unto the people, fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces that ye sin not.”  Notice in this verse that the word “FEAR” appears twice.  The two words for fear are different and they are a perfect example to the two definitions found for fear throughout the scriptures.

  1. Fear not: for God is come…”  This word is “yârê' – pronounced “yaw-ray'a verb – which is also translated "Reverence" (Ref. Psalm 89:7) means the act of being afraid, fearing or to fear which is caused by terror or dread because of an awesome or terrifying object.  Notice the negative adverb “NOT” which is placed right after it to modify, or qualify the meaning of the verb “FEAR.”  What this means is that this kind of fear is an unhealthy and unproductive fear which should not be associated with knowing God.

        In other words; do not be afraid of God with the type of fear that enslaves you or forces you to act in a manner contrary to your well being. Be not afraid of the thunder and lightning, as if they were like one of the plagues of Egypt, be not afraid of being consumed by Him, He will do you no harm; be not afraid of dying by the hand of God, or at His presence, and through His words or at His voice.  “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

  1. His fear: may be before your faces…  This word is “yir'âh – pronounced yir-aw a feminine noun – which means the awe inspiring fear that produces obedience piety, reverence and respect do to ones exalted position.  A reverence of His divine Majesty, an awe of His greatness and glory, a serious regard to His commands, and a careful regard not to offend Him by disobeying those commands.  This definition is clearly demonstrated in the following words of the verse – “that ye sin not: by breaking the law, and transgressing the precepts of it, which they might be deterred from, by the awesome manner it was delivered.

Moses became acutely aware of what God required of His servants later in his life.  For he told God’s people:  “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13)?  Then he added; “You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name.  He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen” (Deuteronomy 10:20-2 1).  In proverbs we see “yir-ah” used almost exclusively.  Solomon used this word because his premise for writing Proverbs was that of obtaining heavenly wisdom, and he had learned that the fear (yir-ah – reverential fear) of the Lord is the beginning of [all true] knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10) and it prolongs our days (Proverbs 10:27)     

 

Fearing God and Obedience are inseparable – they are the "cause and effect!'

        When one “fears” (yirah) God, it is because he knows Him by firsthand experience.  In that experience, one comes to know His love.  God knows that when one loves Him, he will trust Him, serve Him, keep His commands, and hold fast to Him with all his heart and soul.  This Abraham did, and God acknowledged that Abraham truly did fear Him.  God knows that “the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom” (Psalms 111:10; Job 28:28; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10).  Even Solomon wrote at the conclusion of Ecclesiastes, “let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” Or as the Amplified Bible puts it, “All has been heard.  The end of the matter is, Fear God – know that He is, revere and worship Him – and keep His commandments; for this is the whole of man [the full original purpose of His creation], the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inhar­monious circumstances and conditions under the sun, and the whole duty for every man” (Ecclesiastics 12:13).

Fearing God produces Obedience – Obedience produces a Walk with God -

a Walk with God produces personal blessings.

There is another truth here, let us examine it!  The bottom line with God can clearly be seen in His final word to Abraham: “Because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis. 22:18).  Now look at what follows!  “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”  Every time God approves of, and blesses Abraham He says it is because Abraham heard His voice, he knew God was speaking to him; he knew what God was saying and knew what he was to do. Abraham, as a result of his fear (reverential)for his God, obeyed immediately, thoroughly, and with great faith!

Ř  This was what God was looking for! 

Ř  This is what God is always looking for! 

Ř  This is what God is still looking for!

 Let me pose a question.  Do not think for a moment that anyone who picks and chooses what commands of God he is willing to obey, is walking in partial obedience?  NO it is not!  He is walking in total disobedience (Ref. Matthew 5:18-19)!  It can best be expressed in the words of the prophet Hanani when he spoke to King Asa on God’s behalf: “For the eyes of the Lord runs to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2nd Chronicles 16:9); and the words of Moses spoken to the Children of Israel just before they entered the promised land;  “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe – all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 32:46).  The key to understanding that partial obedience is disobedience is found in the words “Loyal” and “all.”  Without obeying all His commands one cannot claim to be loyal.

The key to an effective and powerful walk with God is absolute obedi­ence which comes from one's fear of offending God.  Jesus expressed this vital component in those who would walk with Him when He said to the crowd, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say” (Luke 6:46)?  Jesus then went on to deepen the sig­nificance of fearful (reverential) obedience by using a parable to picture clearly the effect of obedience, especially to God: “Whosoever cometh to me, and hears my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built a house, and dug deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.  But he that hears, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:47-49).

So what does “Walking with God mean?  It is not some mere rhetoric that many preachers proclaim.  It is not an empty expression or wishful ideas.  It is not even a picture of a spiritual attitude.  It is a real powerful principle that demands our entire lives.  It is the central concept to all Christianity.  It is a daily delight to all who partake.  It is sharing in all the experiences of a glorious and faithful lifelong journey with God. 

Let me point out some of the aspects of this celebrated journey with the Almighty.

1.      Walking together with God means Harmony: Amos 3:3.  “Can two walk together except they be agreed?”  The question dares us to ask: are we walking in agreement with God?  Are we in one accord with Christ?  It is noteworthy that people who walk together are extremely fond of each other.  So how is your relationship with Christ?  Where there is no friendship, there can be no fellowship; if two persons be in disagreement, they must first reconcile the matter before there can be any interchanging of good ideas or fellowship.

2.      Walking together with God means Sharing:  Two people will walk together only if they have something in common to share.  So this begs the question: is God your confidant.  Do you in a moment of crisis turn to the telephone to call a friend or run to your quiet place and call on God?  When you are about your every day life are you acutely aware of His presence.  Is it He that you first turn to when you want to share any experiences?

3.      Walking together with God means Learning:  When two walk together, the main motivation is to share ones life, to learn about each other.  Our Lord invites all of us to join Him on His walk.  Why?  Because there is something to learn about Him and about us.  By walking with him daily, we daily learn more about each of us.  Walking with Christ implies that as I come to learn what His character really is I shall comply with His wishes and carry out His commands.

4.      Walking together with God means Exercise:  One of the great benefits of walking is the fitness it brings.  Things like vigor and vitality.  Similarly, walking with God brings strength and confidence in Him and in you.  To walk with God is to trust Him.  To join Him in life’s journey is to invest our faith in His leadership and direction.  Far too many present-day Christians consider walking with God as some sort of soft sentimental sensation that panders purely to feelings.  Brethren that is not the case!  Look at what Joshua was told walking with God was like.  Joshua 1:7-9“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. (8) This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (9) Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

5.      Walking together with God means Separation:  Isn’t it obvious that when two walk together they separate themselves from the world around them.  That is the beauty of taking a walk with someone.  It is very refreshing, and beneficial.  It does a world of good.  God is calling us to walk with him.  Listen to His words; “… I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (17) Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." (18) "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and my daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2nd Corinthians 6:16b-18).

6.      Walking together with God means Inspiration:  God takes us constantly to new heights and depths in our relationship.  Our knowledge of Him and His love.  He gives us new perspectives on the world around us and the world to come.  He takes us to areas beyond the shadow of darkness and into His marvelous light.  Read 1st John 1.

7.      Walking together with God means Going Places:  People who walk together often explore new areas, seeing new sights going beyond their normal domain.  This is so true with God.  We were not designed to be armchair Christians.  We are commanded to go into the entire world.  To set our feet on new terrain and conquer it.  The same command God gave to Joshua 4,000 years ago still applies today.  “…arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.  (2) Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you…”  (Joshua 1:2-3).

8.      Walking together with God means Climbing:  Anyone who does much walking or hiking soon discovers that much of its pleasure comes from the challenge of climbing.  The urge to find a new harder path to travel becomes hard to resist.  It is the same with walking with God.  Let me assure you that Jesus is not your ordinary hiking companion.  He is not content with lingering to long in the valleys of ease and comfort.  Instead, He calls us to a challenging walk, one that will exercise our unused and weak muscles of faith.  There is far too often a tendency on the part of today’s Christians, among preachers and lay-people alike to try and make people feel comfortable, cozy, and contented in their nice padded pews.  Christ however, challenges us to go and face the fury of the storm Luke 8:23~.  He bids us climb the cliff and search the mountains for the lost and dying (Matthew 18:12-14).  To travel alone the highways and hedges to save lost sinners (Luke 14:23).  Brethren we are called to go beyond our comfort zone and expand our horizons to include all God’s creation

9.      Walking together with God means Good News:  How many of us have stood upon a mountain and just stared at the awe inspiring and glorious view below.  Or at night staring upward at the enormous expanse of God’s creation enjoying the magnificent and endless beauty displayed for our benefit by a loving God.  Does not the memory of these times stir your heart?  It did Isaiah’s!  He used the memory of those spectacular and  glorious views to write this; “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Our God reigns” (Isaiah 52:7).

            As we learn to fear God, we develop a deeper desire to walk obediently and humbly with Him on the high road of holiness and wholesomeness.  We would do whatever it takes so that our lives would make an impact for Him far beyond our grandest dreams and hopes.  It is the man who by first hand experience knows what it is to walk quietly, intimately, and peacefully with Christ.  Not only does he hear unique messages of Good News from God, but he prays that his own life, conduct, and character become a perfect image and representation of Him and that of His message.  To know God – is to fear God – to obey God – is to walk with God.  As it was said of the disciples so may it be said of us!  (Acts 4:23)  “They had been with Jesus.”

            Let me close this study by giving you a list of some of the things that fearing God will bring.

1.          One of the consequences of the fear of the Lord is that it keeps one from doing things that are evil. (Exodus 20:18-19; Proverbs 16:6; Job 1:1)

2.          The fear of the Lord is the basis of all wisdom. (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 15:13)

3.          The fear of God is the first principle of divine viewpoint knowledge. (Proverbs 1:7)

4.          The fear of the Lord is the source of personal happiness and prosperity. (Psalm 34:9:112:1-3; 128:1-4; Ecclesiastics 8:12-13)

5.          The fear of the Lord extends one’s physical life. (Deuteronomy 6:2; Psalms 33:18-19; Proverbs 24:7; 19:23; 10:27)

6.          The fear of the Lord provides access to divine help in time of need. (Psalm 145:19)

7.          The fear of the Lord is the mark of one in whom God takes pleasure. (Psalm 147:7)

8.          The fear of the Lord prevents economic abuse (Leviticus 25:14-17, 35-43; Nehemiah 5:1-5)

9.          People who do not fear God cannot be trusted. (Genesis 20:11)

10.      Those who fear God do not turn away from Him and His Word. (Jeremiah 32:39-40)

11.      Those who govern men in the fear of the Lord, rule in righteousness and are a source of refreshment and blessing. (2nd Samuel 23:3-4)

12.      The early New Testament Christians were characterized by a Spirit of the Fear of the Lord (Acts 9:31)

13.      God is to be feared because He has power over one’s physical life and eternal destiny as well (Luke 12:4-5)

14.      The fear of the Lord is developed through the learning of Bible doctrine truth. (Deuteronomy 31:9-13)

15.      The fear of the Lord will preserve a person from idolatry (Joshua 24:14-15)

16.      The fear of the Lord preserves a nation from military conquest (2nd Kings 17:39)

17.      The fear of the Lord secures infinite mercy for those who fall into sin. (Psalm 103:8, 12-18)

18.      Believers should seek close friendships only with those who fear the Lord. (Psalm 119:63)

19.      Those who are placed in positions of civil authority, are to be those only who fear the Lord (Exodus 18:21)

20.      The fear of the Lord prevents a heartless abuse of the physically handicapped. (Leviticus 19:14)

21.      The fear of the Lord preserves a respect for the aged. (Leviticus 19:32)

22.      God’s great desire for His children is that they would so fear Him that they would obey His commandments. (Deuteronomy 5:29)

23.      Failure to fear the Lord leads to disobedience of His commandments and results in chastening of physical illness. (Deuteronomy 28:58-61)[1]


[1] gotquestions.org

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