The fear of God

Exodus 20:20: And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your f


aces, that ye sin not.

The focus verse says that we should not fear, and at the same time, we are meant to fear. It says we are meant to fear God, but nothing else.

The bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). Because, as a definition, wisdom is doing the right things to get the right results, what the bible therefore is saying is that we should allow what God feels about something to guide our action and inaction.

Maybe you wonder how you will know what God feels about a thing. – Read the bible.

David wrote: let the word of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord, my God and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14). In view of the mercy of God, in saving our souls, Paul admonished that we should offer our bodies to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2), holy and acceptable to God, which is our only reasonable service.

The fear of the Lord is not a morbid fear of retribution; it is a careful observance of his word because we want to please him.

The writer of the book of Hebrews said that our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29); after saying that we should serve God acceptable with reverence and fear. Even Jesus exhibited the fear of God. The bible says that that fear of God drove him to pray (Hebrews 5:7). That means that when you neglect prayer the fear of God may be missing in their lives.

Jesus said men ought always to pray and not to faint (Luke 18:1). When we know that what God wants from us is relationship, we would take prayer very serious. The fear of God moves us to pray, when we know that he wants us to experience the fellowship of the His Spirit (2Corinthians 13:14).

Another thing that the fear of God drives you to is to read the bible. Job said that he has esteemed the word of God more than his necessary food (Job 23:12). When you esteem God, it will be shown in your estimation of his word. In another place, the bible says that God likes the company of the one who trembles at his word (Isaiah 66:2). The fear of the Lord causes us to do the word of God.

James said that we should not be hearers of the word only but doers of it (James 1:22). The psalmist said that the word of God he has hidden in his heart not to sin against God (Psalm 119:11). This reveals why he esteemed the word of God. He esteemed it because it would aid him to please God.

David, as a spiritual leader, said that he will teach the people the fear of the Lord (Psalm 34:11). When leaders teach the fear of the Lord, the people will be drawn to the presence of God by praying and the study of the bible.

These two things will help make us into what God wants us to be, into what pleases Him. God shapes us as a potter (Jeremiah 18:1-6), but that aspect of him will not operate in our lives if we don’t submit to Him in prayer and His word.

Imputing the fear of God into the people by the people should go beyond your words as a leader. You should model it for the people in your lifestyle. The leadership should model a lifestyle that pleases the lord for the people.

Peter wrote that the spiritual leaders should be examples to the flock and not lord it over the Lord’s heritage (1Peter 5:1-7). Paul told Timothy that he should not let anyone despise his youth but he should be an example to the saints in speech, conduct, faith etc (1Timothy 4:12).

The leader then becomes a prototype for the transformation of the believers through the fear of God (the carefulness to please God that he expresses in his life) that he models by his lifestyle.

Another way in which the leadership can teach the people the fear of God is by the manifestation of His power. Paul said that is preaching is not with the mere expression intellectual prowess but a demonstration of the Spirit and power (1Corinthians 2:4-5).

The manifestation of the power of God through the ministry of Moses, according to the focus verse, was to instill the awe of God in the life of the people. They were not going to fear God by mere word of mouth, but by seeing his manifest presence, his glorious presence, his thunderous presence, they will learn to fear him, recognise him as worthy of respect, because of his awesomeness (Exodus 20:18-20). And that should guide how they live, in full recognition of him.

The psalmist says: by terrible things in righteousness will God answer us (Psalm 65:1-10). A life of prayer should be a life marked by terrible awesome things in righteousness of God. Moses was a praying person and his life was marked by terrible things in righteousness, Jesus was a praying person and his life was marked by the supernatural.

Mark recorded that in the morning (Mark 1:35), Jesus rises up a great while before dawn, departing into a solitary place to pray. He did not take it for granted that since he was a son of God, things will just automatically work for him. He was a model of prayer and the power of God.

The disciples said that he should teach them to pray (Luke 18:1). They had been watching how he had priotised prayer all along, and they probably connected it with the tremendous power in his life. When they were not able to cast out a devil from a boy, Jesus told them it was because such a demon cannot be cast out except by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21).

Therefore apart from prayer, a life of fasting is needed to express the power of God. He declared that when we fast, our God who sees us secretly will reward us openly (Matthew 6:6, 18). After he was baptised by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness, and after forty days and nights of fasting, the bible recorded that he returned in the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1-15). Power is the dynamic display of God.

When Isaiah saw the Lord, he experienced His fear (Isaiah 6:1-8), and he quickly confessed his sin. When Ananias and Sapphira died suddenly because were killed by God for lying, the fear of the Lord spread throughout the church (Acts 5:1-13). We need a greater intensity of the presence of God in the church of God so that we will all exhibit the fear of God.



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