Recovering the Fear of the Lord

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Published on: April 21, 2015

Imagine an apple pie without apples, a turkey dinner with no turkey, and a roast beef sandwich without roast beef. All these items wouldn’t be what they are supposed to be because the main ingredient is missing.

The church of Jesus Christ today is for the most part not what it is supposed to be. The main ingredient is tragically missing. It has been lost and desperately needs to be found. What is it?

Judah didn’t have it in Jeremiah’s day as God spoke to them through the prophet, “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the LORD God of hosts.” Jeremiah 2:19. “But this people hath a revolting and rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God…” Jeremiah 5:24-25a.

The wicked are also diagnosed in Romans 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” The people in the world outside of Christ have many gods. But they do not tremble before the one true living God because knowledge of Him has not been communicated very well by the church. If the church has left or lost the fear of God, it will be virtually non-existent in the world at large. And that is precisely what we have today.

Why has the church almost totally lost the fear of the Lord? II Timothy 4:3 gives us a very complete answer, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn their ears away from the truth, and shall be turned to fables.”

John Bevere writes in his book The Fear of the Lord: “It is sad to say, but we are living in those days. Too many pastors and ministers seem to desire attracting crowds over upholding righteous ness. They are afraid to preach the truth with boldness, worried that they will jeopardize all they’ve worked hard to build. So they tell people what they want to hear and sidestep confrontation.”

“The results are devastating. Sinners sit in our congregations unconvicted of sin and unaware of what righteousness is all about. Many of those confused individuals assume they are saved, when in fact they are not. At the same time some ministers pursue the favor and rewards of man without considering the favor of God, while godly believers cry, ‘Where is their God?’. Worst of all, while our society remains captive to darkness the church is viewed with disdain. The church cannot really help society because it is infected and diseased with a lack of the fear of the Lord.”

Baker’s Dictionary of Theology
defines the fear of the Lord as a “reverential awe and adoration arising from the apprehension of God as holy love…and…a consciousness of His displeasure {against sin and His punishment of sin}”. Basically the fear of the Lord is as biblically defined “dreadful, exceeding reverence” [Strong’s Concordance] for God. The he fear of the Lord is a holy dread of displeasing God and a holy desire to please Him. When we truly fear the Lord, we love Him, love one another, love what He loves, and hate what He hates. To know Him is to fear Him. To fear Him is to love Him. To love Him is to obey Him.

  • The fear of the Lord is to hate evil—”The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth, do I hate” Proverbs 8:13
  • The fear of the Lord is to depart from evil—”By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” Proverbs 16:6
  • “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
  • The fear of the Lord is a choice—”…they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord.” Proverbs 12:9
  • The fear of the Lord is a basic qualification for righteous leaders—”Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers….” Exodus 18:21
  • The fear of the Lord means you live every moment with the strong personal awareness that God judges both unbelievers and believers in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:30-31; II Corinthians 5:9-12; Revelation 20:11-15. It means you know that delay of God’s judgment does not mean absence of God’s judgment. Ecclesiastes 8:11-13. The fear of the Lord means you realize you are never safe in your sin.

The Bible as well enumerates many of the blessings that come to those who fear the Lord. Here are just a few of them:

  • “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence; and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:26-27
  • “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” Psalm 31:19
  • “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4
  • “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7
  • “Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.” Psalm 85:9

Our nation and our world are filled with far more gore than glory because of the absence, loss and rejection of the fear of the Lord. Irreverence, rebellion, blasphemy, perversions and abominations of every description against God and His Word are the prevailing attitudes and actions of the day.

Recovering the fear of the Lord starts with you and me praying, “Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” Psalm 86:11. Then may He answer our desperate cry according to Jeremiah 32:39-40, “And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: …I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”

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