Posts Tagged ‘fear of god’

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.

How easy it is to envy those who get ahead unhampered by Christian responsibility or God’s laws. For a time they do seem to get ahead without paying any attention to what God wants. But to those who follow him, God promises a hope and a wonderful future even if we don’t achieve it in this life.

The world exalts and promotes sinners. Movie stars, athletes, performing artists, business tycoons, royalty, politicians, and other rich and famous sinners are pushed at you every day. Solomon, with wise parental love, warned his son against envying worldly sinners (Pr 24:1,19). He knew the fear of God instead should be his only ambition (Ec 12:13-14).

Every generation, of every nation, has had heroes and stars; but only recently can the images and words of these popular sinners be thrown at you all the time. If this warning was important in Solomon’s day, it is much more important today. These sinners are all going down, and every Christian must believe it and live like it (Pr 23:18; Ps 37:1-3).

There are 10,000 sinners to envy in this generation and world. Every age, both male and female, and all temperaments, find certain sinners to be temptations. They imagine how wonderful life could be, if they had the abilities, looks, success, spouse, or circumstances of their idol. He might be a product of Hollywood; she might be a classmate or neighbor.

The fear of the Lord is far better. Every sinner, no matter how rich or famous, will die and go to hell (Ps 49:6-20). So fearing the Lord is man’s whole duty (Ec 12:13-14). With God’s blessing and favor, even obscurity and poverty are better than the dysfunctional, hopeless lives and eternal suffering of the wicked (Pr 15:16; Ps 37:16). Believe it, reader!

Moses did not envy Pharaoh or his rising peers; he chose the reproach of Jesus Christ to be of much greater value, for he saw his and their eternal future (Heb 11:24-26). Asaph described in wonderful terms the wisdom of looking past the glitter to the grave (Ps 73:1-28). While Demas loved this present world, Paul loved a future world (II Tim 4:7-8,10).

A morgue teaches the future of glamour girls. Yesterday’s goddesses are feeding today’s worms. Better yet, visit a cancer ward. Before they rot in the grave, they take on a ghastly and ghostly look. And then comes hell. Young girls envying models is one thing; adult women envying models is twice as vain. But the virtuous woman, shunning this world’s enticements to seek Christ, will live in pleasant splendor forever (Pr 23:18; I Tim 2:15).

Why read magazines glamorizing sinners? Why watch them on television? The world only shows enticing features of them: you do not see them drunk, divorced, depressed, dying, or dead. Why daydream about them? Your deceitful heart dwells on their seducing traits: it lies to you about their present troubles and future judgment, and you believe it. It would be far better to envy the righteous and covet their character and reputations.

Your constant thought must be to fear God, which is to hate evil and keep His commands (Pr 8:13; 14:2; Ps 112:1; 128:1). Fearing the Lord is not a mindset for devotions, for times of trouble, for prayer, for Sunday worship, or the Lord’s Supper – it is the lifestyle, perspective, and worldview that real Christians follow every minute all day long. You cannot allow envy for sinners even a second to get a toehold in your heart or soul!

Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 5:11-12 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.

To “fear the Lord” does not mean that believers become paralyzed. On the contrary, knowing God’s perfection and that he will judge everyone’s actions (5:10) should spur Christians to good deeds, to what pleases our God. The fear of the Lord also frees believers from all of life’s anxieties and worries. Knowing that God is “for us” (Romans 8:31) can keep believers unafraid of earthly powers—people, governments, or the forces of nature (Proverbs 3:25-26). God takes care of his own. The fear of God gives us uncommon courage in the face of life’s troubles.

Those who “take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart” are the false preachers (see 2:17) who were concerned only about getting ahead in this world. They were preaching the gospel for money and popularity, while Paul and his companions were preaching out of concern for eternity.

Lets Bring it Home: You can identify false preachers by finding out what really motivates them. If they are more concerned about themselves than about Christ, avoid them and their message.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

A woman who has no fear of God, who is wilful and wasteful, and indulges her ease, will as certainly ruin her family, as if she plucked her house down.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 2:15 Whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways

The world is crazy! Its thinking is twisted. It is profanely wrong. When men reject God and the Bible, they invent crooked ways to live. And they love their insanity. If you try to correct them, they will hate you for it! Solomon’s warning is to save you from them.

Worldly men mockingly call Christians straight. And they are right! Christians call worldly men crooked, and they are right. Sin has twisted the heart and mind of man, so that worldly men rush headlong into crooked ways and down froward paths. Only the proper fear of God will save a man from the crookedness and frowardness of the world.

The long sentence here explains the saving virtues of wisdom, knowledge, discretion, and understanding (Pr 2:10-17). These gifts from God will protect you from the evil and froward man (Pr 2:12), “whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths.” King Solomon is your personal counselor against the dysfunctional lifestyles of worldly men.

Crooked ways are lifestyles deviating from what is right; they are dishonest, wrong, and perverse. Froward paths are lifestyles that are unreasonable, unruly, perverse, and evil. Crooked and froward have very similar meanings. They mean wrong and perverse (Pr 3:32; 4:24; 6:12; 8:8; 11:20; 17:20; 21:8; Deut 32:5,20; Ps 18:26; 101:4; 125:5; Is 59:8).

Give God the glory! When men reject the obvious display of God’s existence in the natural creation, and they are not thankful for His kindness, He darkens their minds and turns them over to reprobate thinking, to do inconvenient things (Rom 1:18-32; Eph 4:17-19). You should read His mocking and taunting ridicule of idolaters in Isaiah 44:9-20!

How inconvenient is the lifestyle He gives them? Very crooked and froward! Very wrong and perverse! They profess themselves wise, just weeks after learning not to mess on themselves, yet they make images of bugs to worship, rather than their Creator (Rom 1:22-23). Consider one of the most crooked ways and froward paths of all. God confuses them to dishonor each other by vile perversions with the same sex (Rom 1:24-27)!

Then He gives them over to more thoughts and acts to dishonor their race (Rom 1:28-32). Fornication, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, deceit, whispering, backbiting, rebellious children, covenantbreaking, and implacability are a few of their ways and paths. They are “without understanding” and “without natural affection.” Not only do they do such things, they also take pleasure in being with and watching others do them.

Christian reader, if the truth were told, as you well know, your depraved heart and mind from Adam is as crooked and froward as any. Even Paul said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom 7:18). But there is a new man within, created in righteousness and true holiness, which you are to put on daily (Eph 4:24).

By God’s grace, you are not to conform to the world, but be transformed from it (Rom 12:1-2). God has called you to a different lifestyle! Paul called on saints to be “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil 2:15). Reader, are you as different from the world as you should be? There should not even be a resemblance!

How can you be different? By wisdom, knowledge, discretion, and understanding (Pr 2:10-11)! Where do you find such precious things? In God’s word! You esteem God’s precepts right on all subjects, and you hate every false way (Ps 119:128). There is no shortcut, and there is no cheating. The only wisdom on earth is in the Bible (Is 8:20)!

There was only one Man, Whose ways were perfectly straight, and His paths perfectly right. There was nothing crooked or froward in Him. Paul said Jesus was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb 7:26). What did this world do to Him? They mocked and tortured Him, before hanging Him by nails on a cross; and they would do the same thing again, if they had another chance. And they want the same for His followers.

But the next time they see Him, He will not be coming to die on the cross for His elect. He will be coming to ferociously destroy His enemies. There will be no quarter or mercy given in that day, as judgment is poured out on the crooked and froward. They will call in vain to their Mother Earth, even “the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev 6:16-17).

“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day” (II Thess 1:7-10).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:14 Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble

Are you happy? Are you as happy as you could be? When God and Solomon mention happiness, you should listen! Here is a rule for life from the wisest king about happiness. Those who have tried both sides of this proverb know it is perfectly true. Be happy today!

All men want to be happy and avoid trouble, and here is how. You need a relationship with your Creator. Without Him, you are a lost speck in the universe. If you always fear God, you will be happy. But if you rebel against Him, your life will fill with trouble. May Almighty God of the Bible bless you with grace and strength to fear Him starting today.

Is it the fear of God here? Yes, for that is the theme of Proverbs (Pr 1:7); it is the whole duty of man (Ec 12:13); no other fear brings happiness (Pr 29:25); it is the opposite of hardening your heart (Is 63:17); mischief results from not having it (Ps 36:1-2); and it properly follows the confession of sins to God necessary for prosperity (Pr 28:13).

How often or for how long should you fear God? You should always fear Him, even when you are not happy. The LORD may withdraw temporarily from a God-fearing man, like Job, thus reducing his happiness; but He will return with additional blessings in the end, like Job as well. Your happiness and success depend on always fearing God.

What is the fear of God? It is to love God. Everything you do should be for His glory (I Cor 10:31). You should guard your life carefully, lest you break His commandments and displease Him. You should circumspectly examine every thought, word, deed, and plan. You should ask, Is this choice agreeable to Him? Will this activity bring Him pleasure?

Can happiness and fear coexist? Yes, for fearing God is a reverent desire to please Him by keeping His commandments and hating sin. There is no pain or torment in this fear. This is fear that hopes in God’s mercy (Ps 147:11) and rejoices with trembling (Ps 2:11). This is fear compatible with coming boldly to His throne of grace for help (Heb 4:12-16).

Fear that caused Adam to hide among Eden’s trees was the ungodly fear of guilt and rebellion. The fear of a child of God is like a child’s fear of a loving father. It is a strong desire to please and a powerful check on disobedience, but it also includes affection, trust, and security (Pr 16:20). Knowing God correctly casts out painful fear (I John 4:18).

Your fear of God should cause you to mistrust yourself, for self-confidence leads to sin and mischief (I Cor 10:12). Wise men do not trust themselves, but learn to despise their hearts as their most dangerous enemy (Jer 17:9). Peter’s confidence in his own strength and courage before denying Jesus Christ should humble you to beg for help and strength.

Since God’s commandments are life and prosperity themselves (Pr 3:1-2) and keeping them brings His favor and blessing (Ps 147:11), these two factors produce human happiness. Keeping the rules for success and having God prosper your life is a wonderful combination. Rejecting His commandments is to choose folly and death and bring His judgment. Do not deceive yourself – for you will certainly reap what you sow (Gal 6:7).

If you want to love life and enjoy many good days, then fear the Lord and depart from evil (Ps 34:12-16; I Pet 3:10-12). Men pay large fees for counsel and therapy to be happy, yet here is the perfect explanation from your Creator. And it was written by the man who experimented with every purpose and pleasure known to man. His conclusion here is the same as he concluded at the end of his philosophical and practical research (Eccl 12:13).

Read Psalm 112:1-10 or Psalm 128:1-6. See if there is prosperity in fearing God. What more could you want? Of course, Hollywood will try to sell you its version of happiness, but wise persons see past the bright lights, moving soundtracks, and lying content to the divorces, drugs, drunkenness, disease, and dysfunction that haunt its so-called stars.

If you stubbornly refuse God’s way, you will bring on yourself His severe judgment (Pr 29:1; 1:24-32; 6:12-15; 28:18). The way of transgressors is hard (Pr 13:15; 4:19; 19:16; 22:5). Lot and Saul compromised God’s commands, and they both lived miserable lives that ended in horrible disgrace, quite unimaginable a few years earlier. What a contrast between Abraham and Lot! What a contrast between Saul and David! What a waste!

Fearing God is not a light matter. It is life or death. It is happiness or trouble. It involves eternity. Only fools treat God’s things lightly, and they will reap the reward of their folly. Only fools take confidence in outward religious rituals, for God will destroy the hypocrite (Job 20:4-9). Wise men will pass the time of their sojourning here in fear (I Pet 1:17).

Where have you hardened your heart against God? What does He require that you do not want to give? Do you stubbornly resist the teaching of His pastors? Have you examined yourself today? Is your entire life grounded in the fear of the Lord? Where are you compromising His public worship? Where are you compromising your private life? Have you confessed and rejected your secret sins? Do you search to see if they are all gone?

If you presume to think you can get away with rebellion, if you think you can have peace in disobedience, He will furiously bring curses on your shameful life and blot out your name (Deut 29:18-20). Be sure your sin will find you out! Kiss the Son! This is not the happiness or disappointment you may encounter on a trip – this is life and eternity!

Jesus Christ feared God His Father always and did those things that pleased Him (Heb 5:7), and He is forever seated on His throne in heaven enjoying fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore (Ps 16:11). You may be there soon as well, if you give diligence to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12-13; II Pet 1:10-11).