♣ Clean Fear

Health to the Soul

“The fear of the Lord is clean…” Psalm 19:9.

HOW OFTEN IS the fear of the Lord taught in our churches? Nowadays it is likened to something that is outdated and irrelevant to a cultured pseudo-Christianity. It is far from being popular in mainstream evangelical churches because the endorsed heretical doctrine propagates that the God of the Old testament revealed Himself differently in comparison to the dispensation of the New Testament; the God of the Old was a God of wrath, whereas in the New He makes Himself known as a God of love. “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17), many professed believers will quote. This is to completely misunderstand the Law, which is to show our sinfulness and how totally incapable we are to reform ourselves in a God-pleasing way. If we fail to understand the function of the Law then the light of the Gospel remains veiled to our eyes. The Law is intended to bring us to the feet of Christ. It is when we recognise our own spiritual poverty (or bankruptcy for a better word) that the kingdom of heaven is opened up to us; it is when we mourn over our own depravity that God shall comfort us by clothing us with the righteousness of Christ.

There are ample accounts throughout the New Testament that speak of fearing the Lord. One of the first is to be found in Acts 5 concerning Ananias and Sapphira. In verse 11 we read that “…great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard these things.” We have Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:1 who wrote, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” We have Peter in His first epistle, chapter two and verse seventeen, stating, “Fear God” and we have the account of John in Revelation falling down at Christ’s feet as though dead when He appeared to him. The magnificence of the Son of God arrayed in all His glory consumed John of all his strength. How different to when he leaned his head close to Jesus’ heart. Is it a sheer contradiction then when John was told, “Fear not…” (Revelation 1:17)? Here is the same author who wrote, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). Why then did John fear; what kind of fear was it? It is a fear that we would all encounter if God were to manifest Himself in such a way. It is man in the presence of God; finiteness in the presence of Infinity; insignificance in the presence of Greatness. God lifts up and comforts those who are humbled. The command to fear not was to reassure John of Who Christ was and who he was in Christ. It was bringing that fear of man’s natural senses into balance, to stand to attention before God as with Ezekiel when the Spirit of the Lord entered him, enabling him to stand on his feet in order to hear God speaking with him (Ezekiel 1:28; 2:1-2). ). Lastly, in the book of Revelation chapters 14:7, we see that fearing God is a continued attitude towards Him: Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water” and chapter 15:3-4, “And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.” So, no, fearing God is not confined to the era of Moses and the Law, or before that; it will continue throughout the ages of eternity as is clearly shown.

The late David Davies, missionary to the Congo, said he would not be so eager (as with all the hype in the church today) to encounter revival again, emphasising that it was an awesome and fearful experience. Here was a godly man which you felt when being with him. Seldom do you come across such people who know God personally, but we have so many that know a great deal about Him. Many that pray for revival do not understand what they are praying for. Authentic revival is nowhere near to what so many today deem revival to be, which is not only shallow and cheap but carnal and even blasphemous. Revival is the repositioning and restoration of what has been lost which is far from being overfamiliar and casually comfortable in the presence of Almighty God. There is conviction of sin and an acute awareness of being in the presence of a holy God; a sharp contrast is intensely felt no matter how godly we may be, but there is also the joy of cleansing and renewal; there are most certainly tears of overwhelming joy.

Duncan Campbell said “what we need today is a baptism of the fear of God” and I couldn’t agree more, especially in the days we live. Psalm 19 states the fear of God is a clean fear. There is a right and wrong fear; there is submitting to a person out of fear who oppresses and then there is submitting to God out of awe, reverence and love and this is the one true fear that is holy, pure and clean. Those who truly fear God are the most freest and content people you will ever meet. They may not live extravagantly in the material sense, but they have pursued their spiritual riches in Christ and continue to do so and out of their poverty have made others rich.

I just recently stumbled across this quote by Oswald Chambers that I thought was very pertinent for this devotional: “The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else.”

The exulting thirty-fourth Psalm in verse nine states, “Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack.” Fearing the Lord is all a part of tasting and seeing that the Lord is good – not some tyrant who takes pleasure in punishing and tormenting people. Christ came to give life in abundance – and of course, because He is the bread of life Himself. Fearing God is a healthy fear; it is healing to our bones – indeed it is life to our soul, not inhibiting as some fear it to be.

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Posted on December 20, 2014, in ♣ Devotional and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I have heard it said that the fear of the Lord was for the Old Testament bunch but us…well! They would say, that we as New Testament children of God have nothing to fear from Him. We are His friends, we are priests and we are on par with Christ.

    Yeesh! The One who owns our very heart-beats? The One who holds the future of the universe in His very hands? And we are not supposed to fear Him?!

    • As joy and pain are mingled in the Christian life, so the adoration and fear of God go hand in hand. God is some kind of ‘buddy’ who many love to ‘chill-out’ with. I despise the god of modern ‘Christianity’ because it is so far from Who God really is. I deplore much of modern worship and how many supposedly worship God on Sunday mornings. It is weird and it is cult-like – it makes me feel literally sick. Those who fear God will not ‘party’ in His presence. There is such beauty and awe when God draws near; one cannot stand but sit, kneel, weep and sob that God would ever draw so near to a wretch. It is being overwhelmed by His grace, but instead we witness revelling that is mistaken for awe (a word many are ignorant of what it really means) and reverence, which portrays such a blasphemous and shameful misrepresentation of God. Our houses of prayer have been turned into houses of hip-hop, rap, rave and self-profit. God help us and have mercy and indeed restore once again a healthy, wholesome fear of Him.

      • The whole idea of fear has been so polluted in this day and age…the same goes with judging as well.

        One cannot even mention being judging or fearing God without feeling like you have come from an abusive family or something. It’s sad…and it’s worked.

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