More of Carol’s teaching notes. Many of these she shared with the ladies of our Church on Monday morning devotionals…
Today I am going to talk about Who we should fear as well as who not to fear and the benefits and blessings that the Bible teaches about this topic!
First we are to fear God! The Bible teaches us about the blessings when we fear or reverence God. This is an emotion that we have all felt. We can all relate to this. Sometimes it nags at us like a yappy dog! It won’t leave us alone. Have you every watched a scary or suspenseful movie and then looked in the closets or under your bed before going to sleep? It makes you want to leave all your lights on.
Other times fear can be like a tidal wave – stopping us dead in our tracks! It can hinder our walk with Christ and our relationships with others. It can lead to compromise, sin and wrong decisions. Just look at Pilate!
“Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” Therefore, when the chief priests and officials saw Him, they cried out, saying “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, ‘You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him. The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the Pratorium and said to Jesus, “Where are you from? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to Him “Are You not speaking to me? Do you not know that I have power to release You?” Jesus answered; you could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying if you let this man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar. When Pilate heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him! Pilate said to them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, we have no king but Caesar! Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.” (John 19:5-16)
Fear of man, the Jews, and Caesar led Pilate to the worst decision of his life! Fear of losing his power and going against the crowd led him to this fateful decision. So, fear can drive us to behave in certain ways. We need to be directed by the fear of the Lord -not fear of man or by our own insecurities. Unger’s Bible dictionary gives us a picture of the fear of the Lord. It makes the distinction between several kinds of fear. Superstitious, which is the fruit of ignorance; servile, which leads to abstinence from many sins through apprehension of punishment; and filial, which has its spring in love, and prompts to care not to offend God and to endeavor in all things to please him. It is another term for practical piety and comprehends the virtues of the godly character. It is produced in the soul by the Holy Spirit, and great blessing is pronounced upon those who possess this Christian trait.
This fear would subsist in a pious soul were there no punishment of sin. It dreads God’s displeasure, desires His favor, reveres his holiness, submits cheerfully to his will, is grateful for his benefits, sincerely worships him and conscientiously obeys his commandments. Fear and love must coexist in us so that both passions may be healthy, or that we may please and rightly serve God. We must learn to fear God and keep His ways. Deuteronomy 4:9-10 “Only take heed to yourself and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord in Horeb, when the Lord said to me, Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear my words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.”
We are commanded in 1st Samuel 12:24; “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.” It is the foundation to our life. Ecclesiastes 12:13 says “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” Solomon searched for the meaning in life and after all his deliberating and investigating – this was the final conclusion. Now remember our fear of God is to reverence Him and to honor Him, to not want to displease Him. It is not to be “scared” of Him for He loves us and wants only the best for us.
There are so many scriptures that list the blessings and benefits of the fear of the Lord…
1) Divine Protection – Psalm 34:7
2) Divine Provision – Psalm 34:9
3) Gods mercy is given – Psalm 103:11
4) Wisdom – Psalm 111:10 Proverbs 1:7 Proverbs 9:10
5) Blessings – Psalm 115:13
6) God takes pleasure in those who do. Psalm 147:11
7) Good life -Proverbs 10:27
8) Confidence and peace -Proverbs 14:26
9) Protection – Proverbs 14:27
10) Intimacy – Psalm 25:14
These are just a very few of the benefits. In our world today people do not reverence or fear God. It makes me think of Abraham when he commented on Egypt and said in Genesis 20:11 – “…surely the fear of God is not in this place!” I do not see much of it in Half Moon Bay! When we fear and reverence God more than this world, its people and pressures – that is a testimony! Also, I want to encourage you that the people that God used in the Bible are just like us and they had fears, but that did not stop them from serving and being used by God. I will mention just a few. Abraham – Genesis 20:8-13. Moses – Exodus 4:10-16. Joshua – Joshua 1:9 God told him not to be afraid. Gideon – Judges 6:11-15, 6:25-27, Judges 7:9-11. Elijah – 1 Kings 19:1-3. This took place after Elijah boldly proclaimed Gods word in 1 Kings 17:1, 17:8-16, 17: 17-24, 18:20-40. Esther 4:6-16.
These are just a few of the people that God used. They are just like us and certainly experienced fear. But, in faith they pushed on. Let us encourage each other in this area. Let us pray for each other not to be held back by fear. Let us ask God for His boldness and strength. Amen!