No assigned reading for today. Use this “free” day to catch up on your reading plan, read a Psalm or Proverb, or just pray and ask God to direct your reading for today. The important thing is to read the Word.
The Fear of the Lord
By Yoga Raj
We often think of fear as a negative, harmful, non-productive or even counter-productive force or emotion. But fear could be very positive and productive. The “fear of the Lord” should characterize every Christian. But, unfortunately, too often, proper fear of God is not realized and recognized as a foundational element of a Christian’s life. There are numerous scriptures both in the Old and New Testament that commands us to fear and revere the Lord. There are countless reasons why we should fear God. Below are a few.
If we are a child of God, there is a sense in which we think of God as being “there for us”. But there is much more to it. The fact that God is our Father requires of us the holiness which fear promotes: Our Father is also the “Judge of all the earth”. His judgment includes all men and is conducted without partiality or favoritism. We are commanded to live in fear—in fear of our Father.1 Peter 1:16-17 ‘For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” “And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.”
The fear of the Lord is an attitude of humility and the beginning of wisdom:Proverbs 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
The fear of the Lord causes one to turn from sin and obey God’s commandments: Deuteronomy 5:29 “‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!’” Deuteronomy 10:12-13 “And you, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all year heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?”
Fear is the appropriate response to God’s power, majesty, holiness, and judgment. Psalm 90:11 Who can comprehend the power of your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.
The Discipline of the Lord leads to reverence: Deuteronomy 8:5-6 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you. Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him.
The fear of the Lord is healthy and wholesome, leading to blessing and security. While it is our duty to fear God, it is also our delight: Psalm 147:11 The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness. Nehemiah 1:11 “Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” Proverbs 14:26-27 Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children. Fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.
The fear of the Lord motivates saints towards Holiness: As children of the Lord, we must understand that His standard for us is holiness, and so we must conduct ourselves with an awareness of our own weaknesses and vulnerability to sin. While the penalty of our sins has been paid at Calvary, God continues to work to purify us into His likeness. 2 Corinthians 7:1 Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.
The fear of the Lord is not merely an Old Testament phenomenon to be set aside by the “love of God” in the New Testament. The book of Hebrews informs us that the “fear of the Lord” should be even greater for those of us who live in this age than it was for those in Old Testament times: Hebrews 12: 24-29 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.
The last words of the Book of Ecclesiastes sum up the essence of life:
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. Because God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.