Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fear of God: Do you have it?

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 1:7)
"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him" (Psalm 103:13).
"To this man will I (the Lord) look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word" (Isa. 66:2).
"Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king" (I Pet: 2:17)
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28).
With Thee is forgiveness of sin, that Thou mayest be feared' (Psa 130:4)
“Be not high-minded, but fear” (Rom 11:20).
“Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (1Pe 1:17).
“Praise our God all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him both small and great” (Rev 19:5).

Wherein the Fear of God Appears, and by What It Is Manifested
1. In an hatred of sin. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil,” (Pro 8:13)
2. It shows itself by departing from evil; “By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil,” (Pro 16:6; 3:7)
3. The fear of God appears in men in not allowing themselves to do what others do, and what they themselves formerly did; so Nehemiah, speaking of some ill things done by former governors, says, “So did not I, because of the fear of God,” (Neh 5:15)
4. The fear of God manifests itself by a carefulness not to offend God nor man; such study to exercise a conscience void of offence to both... either by word or deed, and even to put no stumbling block before any, but fear the Lord their God, for to do otherwise would be contrary to it (Lev 19:1)
5. The fear of God in men is seen by a constant attendance on the worship of God, and by a strict regard to His will...
6 . The fear of God is seen and known in men by their withholding nothing from God, though ever so dear unto them, whenever He requires of them; so Abraham, when he so readily offered up his son at the command of God, received this testimony from him, “Now know I,” saith the Lord, “that thou fearest God,” (Gen 22:12)
Excerpted from The Fear of God: Its Manifestations, Causes and Enjoyments by John Gill

... respect is appropriate between equals...But I fear God: I dare not disagree with him. Those who do not fear God do not know Him. ~ Lawrence R. Eyres

“Fear of the Lord” entails…an emotional response of fear, love and trust. The unified psychological poles of fear and love come prominently to the fore in the surprisingly uniform way Deuteronomy treats “love of the Lord” and “fear of the Lord” (cf. 5:29 with 6:2, and 6:5 with Josh. 24:14; cf. 10:12, 20; 13:5). In Isaiah 29:13 Israel’s distorted “fear of me” is rejected precisely because it is made up only of rules taught by men. According to Proverbs 2:1-5, “the fear of the Lord” is found through heartfelt prayer and diligent seeking for the sage’s words. In 15:33, “humility” and “fear of the Lord” are parallel terms, and in 22:4 “humility” is defined as “the fear of the Lord sort.”
~ Bruce K. Waltke from The Book of Proverbs

The true fear of God is a child-like fear. Some of the Puritans used to call it a "filial fear." It is a combination of holy respect and glowing love. To fear God is to have a heart that is sensitive to both His Godness and His graciousness. It means to experience great awe and a deep joy simultaneously when one begins to understand who God really is and what He has done for us.

Therefore the true fear of God is not a fear that makes a person run away and flee from God. It is a fear that drives him to God. Love for God and fear of Him are, therefore, not at all incompatible. To think that they are is to fail to see the richness of the character of the God we worship. It is to ignore the way in which knowing Him in all of His attributes, and responding appropriately to Him, stretches our emotional capacities to their limit. Scripture ~ portrays the fear of the Lord and the love of the Lord as companion emotions.
P.J. (Flip) Buys from The Fear of God as a Central Part of Reformed Spirituality

What is meant by the judgments of God and what judgments we are exposed to that we ought to be afraid of?
The judgments of God are those manifestations of His vindictive or corrective justice whereby He lets the world know what a sin-hating God He is.
These judgments are temporal, spiritual, and eternal. God can arm the whole creation against us and make everything we enjoy destructive to us. God does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men but when, by their sins, they provoke Him, He sends down His judgments upon them. The judgments of God ought to be the object of a natural man’s fear, for hereby God reveals His just displeasure against sin. "The Lord is known by the judgment which He executeth" (Psalm 9:16). Godly men are afraid of God’s judgments.
~ from a sermon by John Cotton entitled: A Holy Fear of God and His Judgments

Since, the soul's well or woe is dependent upon God, we must be fearful out of love for our own salvation, and must fear God's judgments. “My flesh trembleth for fear of Thee; and I am afraid of Thy judgments” (Psa 119:120). An unconverted person must also, by fear for the eternal wrath of God, be persuaded to believe (2Co 5:11). A converted person must, for fear of spiritual harm, stir himself up to be earnest. “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Heb 4:1).
~ Wilhelmus A'Brakel

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