Lenten Day 32: NOT FEARING GOD – A SERIOUS SIN
TOPIC: NOT FEARING GOD – A SERIOUS SIN
TEXT: PSALM 128: 1-END
Genuine faith is expressed in, and full of, awe and reverence for GOD, and this is the basic meaning of the biblical idea of “fearing God.” Unless we personally realize the awesome and majestic power of God, it is impossible to have meaningful faith in one’s heart (Ps 5:7; 89:7). Though Christians should be free from the fear of humans (Heb 13:6), death, and life in general (2 Tim 1:6-7), they must never lose their sense of the awe of God. Such awareness not only leads to true wisdom (Ps 111:10) but also provides direction for the child of God throughout life (Eph5:21; Phi 2:12).
Those who love God learn about this kind of fear by searching the Scriptures (Prov 2:3-5) – the Word of God. In Acts 10:2 Cornelius and his family were called “God-fearers” because of their high respect for God and because they stood in awe of Him. True reverence for God must be expressed in good works and holy living (2nd Cor 7:1). This holy fear actually brings joy (Ps 2:11) and a “fountain of life” (Prov 14:27). The fear of the Lord is more valuable than riches (Prov 15:16) because the Lord takes pleasure in those who hold Him in such high regard (Ps 147:11).
NOT FEARING GOD is the opposite of fear of GOD. It is not recognizing His worth, not honouring Him for what He has done and for who He is. In a very real sense, it is a complete disregard for GOD without ascribing any value for Him; treating Him with contempt, and relegating His position to the background. It is a grievous sin against GOD, and it leads to disaster. Not fearing God breeds other sins; GOD abhors it that is the reason He demands that He alone should be feared. (Deut 10:12, 13:4, Mal 1:6).
THE BIBLE’S VIEW
Fear of GOD is motivated by His awesome power and justice. (Deut 10:12-13): In saying that the Lord is God of gods and Lord of lords, Moses was distinguishing the true God from all the local gods worshiped throughout the land. Then Moses went a step further, calling God “Mighty and Awesome.” He has such awesome power and justice that people cannot stand before Him without His mercy. Fortunately, His mercy toward His people is unlimited. When we begin to grasp the extent of God’s mercy toward us, we see what true love is and how deeply God loves us. Our fear of what He might do to us is transformed into a reverence and awe before His great mercy.
Knowing GOD increases reverent fear. (Psalm 25:12): To fear the Lord is to recognize God for who He is: Holy, Almighty, Righteous, Pure, All-knowing, All-powerful, and All-wise. When we regard God correctly, we gain a clearer picture of ourselves: sinful, weak, frail, and needy. When we recognize who God is and who we are, we will fall at His feet in humble respect. Only then will He show us how to choose His way.
Fearing GOD leads to knowing Him more fully: “Friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who fear Him.” God offers intimate and lasting friendship to those who revere Him, who hold Him in highest honour. What relationship could ever compare with having the Lord of all creation for a friend? Your everlasting friendship with God will grow as you revere Him.
Fearing GOD does not mean being terrified of Him: Throughout the Bible we find this phrase, “Don’t be afraid.” God wasn’t trying to scare the people. He was showing His mighty power so the Israelites would know He is the true God and would therefore obey Him. If they would do this, He would make His power available to them. God wants us to follow Him out of love rather than fear. To overcome fear, we must think more about His love. First John 4:18 says that, “perfect love expels all fear.” (Exodus 20:20)
It is far better to fear GOD than to fear man. (Proverbs 29:25): Fear of people can hamper everything you try to do. In extreme forms, it can make you afraid to leave your home. By contrast, fear of God – respect, reverence, and trust – is liberating. Why fear people who can do no eternal harm? Instead, fear God who can turn the harm intended by others into good for those who trust Him.
A healthy fear of GOD motivates us to strive for holiness (2nd Cor 7:1)
A healthy fear helps us keep our perspective about where we need to be in our relationship with GOD (Psalm 2:11)
FEAR OF GOD IS DESCRIBED AS
Hatred of evil – Pr 8:13; Wisdom – Job 28:28; Ps 111:10; A treasure to saints – Pr 15:16; Is 33:6; A fountain of life – Pr 14:27; Sanctifying – Ps 19:9; a prerequisite for appointment of judges – Ex 18:12
HOW DO WE SHOW THAT WE FEAR GOD?
By serving and worshiping Him with reverence – Heb 12:28-29, Ps 96:4-9, 2nd Ki 17:36, Lev 19:30, Deut10:12; by praising Him for what He has done and for who He is – Rev 19:5, Ps 22:23, Is 33:13; by keeping silence in God’s presence with all sense of decorum – Zep 1:7, Hab 2:20 Eccl 5:1; by refraining from sin – Ex 20:20 ; by showing reverence to His name – Lev 22:32; by having unshakable trust in Him – Ps 115:11; through unalloyed obedience to Him – Eccl 12:13; by treating others with fairness and justice – 2 Chr 19:6-9, Neh 5:15; by giving to charity is a way to show our reverence for God – Acts 10:2; by honouring Spiritual leaders – 1st Thes 5:12-13; by honouring elders – Lev19:32; By honouring those in authority over us. Ex 22:28, 1 Sam 24:5-7
FEAR OF GOD EXEMPLIFIED
Noah, in preparing the ark – Heb 11:7; Abraham, tested in the offering of his son Isaac – Gen 22:12; The midwives of Egypt, in refusing to take the lives of the Hebrew children – Ex 1:17,21; The Egyptians, at the time of the plague of thunder and hail and fire – Ex 9:20; Nehemiah, in his reform of the public administration – Neh 5:15; Job, according to the testimony of Satan – Job 1:8; David – Ps 5:7; Ps 119:38; Cornelius, who revered God with all his house – Act 10:2; Christians Act 9:31
NOT FEARING GOD EXEMPLIFIED
Adam and Eve – Gen 3:8-13; Uzziah – 11 Chr 26:16-21; Nebuchadnezzar – Dan 4:1-end; Saul – 1 Sam 15:1-23
THOSE WHO FEAR GOD
Afford pleasure to God – Ps 147:11; Are pitied by God – Ps 103:13; Are accepted of God – Act 10:35; Receive mercy from God – Ps 103:11,17; Luk 1:50; Are blessed – Ps 112:1; 115:13; Confide in God – Ps 115:11; Pr 14:26; Depart from evil – Pr 16:6; Converse together of holy things – Mal 3:16; Do not fear man or evil – Is 8:12,13; Mt 10:28; Have their desires fulfilled by God – Ps 145:19 ; Have their days prolonged – Pr 10:27; Shall not be visited by evil – Prov 19 :23; Know the secret of GOD – Ps 25:14; are watched over by GOD – Ps 33:18; receive the goodness of GOD – Ps 32:19; are fed by GOD – Ps 111:5
BLESSINGS OF FEARING GOD
Attracts wisdom – Prov 1:7; Determines destiny – Pro 1:29; helps to depart from evil – Prov 3:7, 16:6; Prolongs days – Pro 10:27; Produces satisfaction – Prov 15:16; Gives strong confidence – Prov 14:26; Tends to life – Prov 19:23; Gives riches, honour and life – Pro 22:4; Brings Blessings – Eccl 8:12
CONSEQUENCES OF NOT FEARING GOD
Leads to captivity (Zedekiah) – 11 Kings 24: 18-end, 25:1-21; leads to defeat (Saul) – 1 Sam 15:1-23; leads to destruction(Uzziah) – 11 Chro 26:16-21; leads to rejection (Saul) – 1 Sam 15:1-23; leads to dethronement (Nebuchadnezzar) – Dan 4:1-end
The fear of God is a command (Deut 13:4; Ps 22:23; Eccl 12:13; 1Pe 2:17), and should be Prayed for (Ps 86:11); exhibited in our callings (Col 3:22); exhibited in giving a reason for our hope (1Pe 3:15); constantly maintained (Deut 14:23; Jos 4:24; Prov 23:17); and taught to others (Ps 34:11). Ecclesiastics 12:13 sums it up as the “conclusion of the whole matter”; therefore, any act of not fearing GOD is simply a voluntary invitation of DOOM!