The fear of the Lord

lightening-171334_640Psalm 34:11: Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

To teach the fear of the lord, you have to have the fear of the Lord yourself. The bible say some people teach the fear of the Lord like it is a precept of men, as just a set of dos and don’ts, removed from a personal encounter with God, removed from any real knowledge of Him (Isaiah 29:13). And that is wrong.

Paul described some people as ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth, having a form of godliness but denying the power (2Timothy 3:7). They have the rituals but do not a relationship. They have a regime of rituals to observe, that is their security, but refuse to realise that God wants a one-on-one ongoing relationship with us. They prefer to relate with God afar off, not willing to jump into the uncharted waters of closely walking with him.

They deceive themselves saying: “everyone sins; God is too far away; we cannot really know God; the bible is a very difficult book; there are different religious, we don’t know which one is real, there are different Christian bodies, and we don’t know which one tells the truth.”

They embrace a convenient excuse of their choosing, and reject the demands of Jesus to forsake all and follow him. They are like the rich fool which came to Jesus, acting as if he would do whatever Jesus told him (Mark 10:20-21), but when Jesus demanded that he should leave behind his great wealth, what was in his heart was revealed. He was a lover of a lover of money. Since he could not embrace the truth, he backed off from it. He showed he did not really have a fear of God, but a fear of material loss; he’ll rather lose Christ than lose money.

The disciples of Jesus said to him: teach us to pray as John taught his disciples. And he taught them not just the words to say but through stories be the attitude they needed in prayer too (Luke 11:1-13). Likewise the fear of the Lord is an attitude that can be taught through people living in the fear of God; not empty words but through instructions empowered by the life of God at work in the life of the speaker.

Paul asked: you that teach against adultery, do you do the same, you that teach against stealing, do you not rob temples (Romans 2:21-23)?

Real teaching is beyond word, it is the communication of attitudes. Jesus would not be able to teach prayer if he did not model that lifestyle to the people. If he just said, do as I say but not what I do, he would not have been effective. He modelled the fear of God to them, which was an important part of their teaching regime.

Jesus said to his disciples to go into the whole world, make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe the words he had taught them (Matthew 28:18-20). What qualifies the disciples to teach others the word of God is that they were following the words themselves. They cannot teach others anything except what they have been taught. They were not expected to teach what they had not been taught. They cannot make an impression on others more than Christ had impressed on them

The disciples must be followers of truth themselves, before they can teach it. Their lives must first be testimonies of the truth they are meant to instruct the coming disciples of Jesus. Paul told Timothy that he should commit to faithful men the things he had taught him, and those people are to teach others, in a perceptual continuation of truth, a life impacting lives, and even more lives (2Timothy 2:2). The influence of the kingdom is not just in words but in the power of lives changed by those words (1Corinthians 2:4-5, 2Corinthians 3:1-3).

The Pharisees were not models to follow, with Jesus telling the people to do what they say and not what they do (Matthew 23:1-3), because they were saying the right things (from scriptures) but living the wrong life. It is partly in that context that we would consider Jesus’ injunction that our righteousness should be more than that of the Pharisees and scribes (Matthew 5:19-20). They say but do not do; we are to say and to do.

For those who claim to bring a word to others in the name of Jesus, he said: by their fruits you shall know them (Matthew 7:15-23). If their lives do not reflect the truth, they are not worth hearing. He said it is not enough to call him “Lord,” we need to do the will of his Father in heaven. It is not enough to say the right things; the teachers must live right lives.

Our lives must be marked with doing the will of God. Before we can be agents of change, we must be truly changed, and before we can lead the people to victory, we must be operating in dominion ourselves.

Moses, before he led the children of Israel through the wilderness had experienced leading sheep through the wilderness, forty years worth (Exodus 3:1-3). Jesus is able to grant his followers the power for victory over sin because he practically overcame all the temptations that the devil threw at him (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus cannot lead us to heaven if he himself has not gone there. The bible says that Jesus is seated at the right hand of power in heaven (Romans 8:34). He come from the father and can be our guide to him.

He calls himself the way the truth and the life, saying no one can come to the father except through him (John 14:6). If he does not know the father there is no way he can lead us to him. When people were angry that he claimed to have such high level of closeness to the father, he answered that he would be lying if he says he does not know Him (John 8:18-56). That is his selling point. John said of Jesus: the only begotten of the father who was in the bosom of the father has declared him (John 1:18).

The disciples were not supposed to teach what they themselves had not been taught. It was because they saw Jesus praying that they asked him to teach them to pray. Prayer to Jesus was more than mere observance; it was like the breath that he breathed. It was different from what the disciples had observed from the Pharisees, the lifeless repetitive verbal nonsense.

Jesus told the people to reject the prayer practice of those he called hypocrites, the Pharisees, who pray to earn the praise and recognition of human beings (Matthew 6:5, 23:13). They are emptied of all sense of divine connection. Jesus condemned them for going to the ends of the earth zealously looking disciples and at the end of it, the person is twice a candidate of hell then they are (Matthew 23:13, 15). They are not connected to God, and so cannot help anyone to be connected to Him.

We cannot connect people to God beyond the connection we ourselves have. Certain of the Jewish exorcist, wanted to cast out devils using the name of a Jesus they did not have a connection with (Acts 19:13-16). They used the name as a mere formula, removed from the relationship with him; they prefer the form of the use of the name and do not want to submit to him to have his power work in their lives (2Timothy 3:5).

For them, the name of Jesus was something to use and not a person to experience. They wanted to exercise divine power without divine relationship and it backfired on them. They wanted the fun of using the name without having the fear of the Lord. They discovered it doesn’t work like that. The demon they wanted to cast out, casted them out of the room, naked. They were overpowered because they did not embrace the power of God.

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