Sunday, January 29, 2012

Should We Fear God?

O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
Psalm 34:9
What does it mean to fear the Lord? Most people will tell you that it means reverence but is this really what the bible is saying? There is an ugly teaching that has polluted the scripture and how
many people see the God and that is that man must be respected in his worship to God. But his is far from the truth. Let me expound on this before I go any further.

Fear is a Natural Part of Growth
Consider this; a new born child neither fear his parents or loves his parents, at such an immature stage in his life, a new born child sees his parents only as the source of his needs. If his is hungry he cries and his parents supply food, or change his diaper or whatever his need.

However, when that child gets older and misbehaves his parents then start to discipline him for his actions this child still does not love his parents, but see them as a source of his need and the law of his obedience. The child hates being disciplined, and therefore is obedient not because he
loves his parents but because he fears the discipline.

It is regular discipline that gives birth to the love the child has for his parents. Any social worker will tell you a child need structure and discipline to feel loved. We know this to be true because children that are not obedient do not fear discipline and are not apt to feel loved. Because
fear has never been taught through obedience these children end in a life of crime, living their lives not only with no fear of their parents, but no fear of the law, and no fear of God.

Who Started the Reverence Thing Anyway?
About 30 years ago a famous psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Spoke ( not from star tract) began teach parent to be friend with their children to help strengthen the child''s self-esteem  esteem. This new wave system of parenting has run amuck today and children are more out of hand than they have ever been. Parent are so afraid of discipline their children that the children are now in charge in many
family. Is there any wonder that we have a generation out of control? This we can thank Dr. Spoke for, and by the way his son killed himself. I do not think I want to learn my parenting skills from him. Yet I digress.

Now we that are immature in the things ofGod must learn to Fear (be terrified of) the LORD not to reverence (as we would a friend) many people, even Christians have made God common, they address Him disrespectfully and do not even see the problem with doing so. Names like " The Man Upstairs" are disrespectful and are signs that you have never feared Him. Yet more importantly, they are signs that we also have never learned to Love Him.
God has revealed His names to us and one way we disrespect Him and show we do not love Him by the way we address Him. It is right to fear the Lord! It is perfect for us to walk on eggshells in
his mighty presence! We must learn to tremble at that thought of His awesomeness. In fact awesome means to be characterize by awe and the bible uses the word "pachad" H6342) for awe which means fear.

There are those that argue that passages like;
  1. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)But this is taken out of context, and what is missing is the reason that we should have not fear. Verse 17 alludes to  the work of Jesus Christ. because of what he did, and the love we have for him (v19) there is no fear in the things of this world. Clearly it is the perfect Love of God (since man cannot achieve perfect love) that drives out the fear of the world, not any love that is felt or achieved by man that drives out fear.
     Moreover the word used for fear in this passage is "Phobos" (G5401) which is where we get the word phobia from mean extreme fear. Now the bible also suggests that it could mean reverence. However, Phobos is the same word used in the other instances of fear in the same passage, so we know its correct translation is fear. Now If we were to replace the word fear with reverence in the passage, the verse would negate itself and would be completely meaningless. Therefore we can say without a doubt that the intent of the author was to mean fear as in being afraid.  
  2. The second passage which is constantly used to justify reverence instead of fear is; For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father (Romans 8:15) I actual love this one because it proves my point. In fact this passage is only telling us that those that have the spirit of God are not afraid of the things of this world. Clearly we see that fear of God is acceptable and required while fear of man or this world is not, and unacceptable in the eyes of God. Fear should be rightly applied to our relationship with God because it prepares us to be able to love Him. In Matthew 10:28 and Luke 12:5 Jesus tell us that we should fear God, not the enemy or anyone of this world. Yet because many Christians have been taught not to fear God, they are stuck fearing the things of this world.

Fear Naturally Gives Birth to Love
Here's another analogy. When you first met your wife or husband you like them but in truth you had a period when there was fear in your relationship. If you were the jealous type, you fear where they may have been when they were not with you; it's possible that you questioned within yourself if they felt the same about you as you did for them. For a while in your relationship you did not say the first thing that came into your mind because you were not sure what they would think about you, or what you said.

All these questions that we have in the beginning of the relationship, is a types of fear. All these doubts had to exist before you were confident enough to say to that person "I love you". So you see as you learn to be obedient to the feeling of your spouse that obedience slowly grew into love.
Yet had that fear never existed and your behavior was not modified out of that fear (obedience) Love would have never been born.

Introspectively determine within yourself, is your love for God in anywhere as intimate as it should be? And if not, have you had a period of fear toward God before you proclaimed your love for him? If you are still struggling with the things you did before you came to Christ I can tell you
the answer is no! You have never learned to fear God. Fear is expressed in obedience and obedience gives birth to love. Jesus tells us in John14:21 that by keeping his commands, we give birth to the love we have for Him. Which shows there is a relationship between obedience and the expression of love.

Now let's get back to studying fear as opposed to reverence with this very famous passage;
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

The word Fear in this passage is "Yir'ah" (H3374) it is used 45 times in the bible and even though it can mean revered when used in it proper context it never means reverence in the bible, NOT ONCE! Now let's use the other words the bible uses for fear "Yare" (H3372) this word is use 314 times in the bible but only (3) three times does it mean reverence.

But that is the Old Testament what about the New Testament? Well the word fear is used 151 times in the New Testament with (8) eight different words and only one (1) time does it mean reverence. This basically means that when used in context the bible only uses the word fear to mean reverence four (4) times. Yet I have heard people say that fear means reverence more than (4) four times this year alone!

Prophets and Apostle Fear God
In Isaiah 6 we fine a prophet to thought that he would die in God presence he was so afraid,  and once he had humbled himself in fear then God imparted understanding onto him.
In Revelation 1 we have an Apostle that fell to the feet of Jesus as if dead he was so afraid. but once he had humbled himself in the presence of God God was able to reveal to him all that He had for us.
In both cases these were powerful men who understood the wisdom of fearing God (
Psalm 111:10) this was both before the coming of Jesus Christ and after the Resurrection.  What we need to know is that God has not changed, He requires us to first have the wisdom to come into His presence with fear and trembling , before he will impart any measure of Godly knowledge.

The bible is full of examples of prophet and apostle fearing God. These were powerful men that were used by God to do great things, yet we are taught today that we should reverence God. Why is it that those that were used by God fear Him, but most of us that have trouble with the simplest things in our Christian walk only reverence Him? Maybe the answer is in Psalm 111:10 !

Let's Make Thing Easy
The authorized King James Version of the bible uses the word fear 714 times, of those only (4) four times does it mean reverence, three times in the Old Testament, and once in the New. Yet the perverted teaching which is so often used in many of today's churches teaches  not to fear God but to reverence Him.  
So the next time someone tells you the word fear means reverence, gets out your strong concordance and ask them to prove it. This is real simple God wants you to fear Him. You can reverence you

Your Brother In Christ
Soli Deo Gloria

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