“The Fear of the Lord is the beginning…” (part 2 in a series)

The Fear of the Lord is the beginning…

 NOTE: TO READ THE FIRST IN THE SERIES CLICK “FEAR OF GOD” IN RESOURCES

Psalms 111:10

The fear of the Lord is the “.

 

Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

 

Proverbs 2:1-5

“My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; 3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, 4 If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”

 

Building on the previous devotional, let us consider some scripture verses that were referenced. In Romans 1:20 to 2:11 the Bible is very clear.  Creation demands a Creator, and a design demands a Designer. By looking up in the sky and by observing the natural world around, anyone can know there is a God.  Man is instinctively religious (we are created in the image of God) and has created his own god’s to worship, and in some cases choses to worship himself.

Even atheist who claim there is no God, or agnostics who claim you cannot know there is a God, give the glory of His works to “Mother Nature” or “Nature” or a “natural process” in the quest of self-styled knowledge.  They devote themselves to futile philosophies and speculations about other gods losing the capacity to see and think clearly.

 

What then is God’s answer to some who has never heard the gospel, but lives up to the light that God has revealed?  Observing creation and knowing there has to be something bigger than himself, and understanding that graven images cannot hold the power granted them my men. As we read in Psalms 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”

and acting upon what God has revealed gives us more understanding.  We can find an example of this is Acts 10.

 

Act 10:1-2

“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.

 

We do not know the content of his prayers, but the passage tells us that he was earnest and sincere, praying always to God, and acting on that knowledge, he was giving generously to the poor and needy.  He did not pray to other gods or idols or other things in creation, but was praying to the Creator always. 

 

 

 

Referencing the passage in Proverbs 2:1-5 (see above) we see conditions of a heart that begins to understands the fear of the LORD. 

  • Must be sincere and whole hearted
  • Have an open ear and apply the heart
  • If you mean business, call out for discernment
  • Seeking God as a valuable treasure (hunting, searching, knowledge)

 

Cornelius did not know about God’s plan of salvation and the gospel message, but was seeking after God as a valuable treasure, and took it so seriously that he included his entire family and those who worked for him. Cornelius prayer was heard, and God sent a messenger to him. 

 

Acts 10:3-8 “

About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.  5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.  6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”  7 And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually.  8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.”

 

You will have to read the rest of the account in Acts 10 to find out what happens to Cornelius and his household in Acts chapter 10. 

 

Does Cornelius finally meet Peter?  How do those close to him react? How does Peter know who Cornelius is?  Since Peter is a Jew, does he have time for a gentile?  You have to read to know the conclusion.

 

God does not leave the world without a witness of who He is, nor does he just let us try to figure things out for ourselves, but will send messengers to those who fear God.  The Bible is very clear about God’s requirements for salvation and who that salvation is through.  God loved us so much that he sent his Son to pay that penalty of sin, and is not slack concerning His promise, but is patient toward us, not willing that any should perish, and that all should come to repentance. (John 3:16-18 & 2 Peter 3:9).

 

Have you accepted Christ?  Do you fear God?

 

If you have accepted Christ, and fear God, are you doing your part to spread the good news?

 

 

 



Fear of God

The Fear of God

Introduction

 

On the day that Jesus Christ was crucified two other individuals, who were called criminals, were also crucified. Listen to their exchange as they hung on crosses on either side of Jesus.

 

Luke 23:39-40

39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?

 

Have you ever gone to a restaurant that offered a huge buffet, or dinner gathering where several families bring a dish to pass that includes all of your favorite foods and the best homemade desserts that you have ever tasted?

 

On Easter Sunday a few months ago, listening to the sermon and following the various scripture being read of the account of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus one phrase stood out very bold to me. This same phrase is highlighted in bold letters in the above passage. It kept running through my thoughts, which made me want to research this topic a little more.  Doing a simple electronic search of various combinations of the phrase “fear of God”, I was not prepared for the volume and examples of truth that was to be revealed.  As one question was answered, there were two more that arose, which drove me deeper into this study.  It became overwhelming when trying to organize my thoughts into a short devotional. There was so much that I had to stop and digest before going any further.

 

These verses not only challenged my heart, but opened some doors to share the gospel with others on social media. Contrasting the responses of the thieves on the cross and drawing a comparison in our modern world.  There has been a stirring to write a series of devotionals on the topic “The Fear of God” which will hopefully be a blessing to the reader as much as it has been to this writer.

 

The idea of the fear of God is in our society and its conversation as the following exchange reveals:

A recent headline in the media has many talking. “Obama Unilaterally Rewrites Law, Imposes Transgender Policy on Nation’s Schools”.  On his conservative talk radio show,

Rush Limbaugh asks the question “why?” as he looks through the lens of politics and American culture.  The same day Franklin Graham, shared an article from Huffingtonpost.com on his Facebook page with a rebuking comment “…The president obviously must have no fear of God, who made us and created us male and female. I hope that school districts across this nation will defy President Obama and his administration’s radical progressive agenda to promote and advance the sin of homosexuality and the LGBT agenda.”

 

Psalms 111 is praise to God for his faithfulness and justice as the psalmist reflects on the past. In the last verse of the chapter, the writer tells us that only the man who references Him has started on the road to wisdom, and the more we obey Him, the more light he gives us.  We can conclude that it would be foolish to ignore the handy work of God.  Psalms 111:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.”

 

Referencing the opening scripture, is there any practical application for us to consider?

We can see a contrast in response offered by the men who were condemned to die. In one there was no fear, and he even mocked Jesus. The other acknowledged his punishment as just reward for their deeds, but acknowledged who Jesus is.  Below is the first of a series of devotionals to encourage the reader to search and consider God’s Word.

Romans 1:16-17 “…The just shall live by faith.” In this verse the Apostle Paul is partially quoting from the Old Testament.   Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith. 

 

Please note the first part of this verse. Is there any fear of God in a heart that is proud? In the first few chapters of Romans the Apostle Paul systematically lays out the hopeless condition of all of mankind.

 

 

Those who ignore God

 

Man is without excuse.

Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” 

Although they knew God by his works, they did not glorify Him

Romans 1:21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”

God abandons them, because they first abandoned the truth about Him

Romans 1:24 “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”

Left to his own devices, mankind falls deeper in darkness.

Romans 1:28

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,  30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;  32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

 

Those who ignore God’s commandments

 

 Will experience God’s judgment

Romans 2:1

“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.  3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?  4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?  5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,  6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”:[a]  7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;  8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,  9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;  10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  11 For there is no partiality with God.”

 

All Have Sinned (and are

under the same condemnation

)

Romans 3:9 “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.

10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There are none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” 13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; 14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known.” 18 

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

 

Those who fear God are justified by faith

 

Are justified by faith

Romans 2:21

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all[h] who believe. For there is no difference;  23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,  25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,  26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus”

 

 

Conclusion:

What will you do with Jesus?

Will you reject Him?

Do you fear God, or instead mock God and declare your own righteousness?

 

Will you accept Him today?