Volume. XXXIV, No. 15
Sunday, 13 October 2019


From the Pastor’s Heart: The Fear of God and Biblical Wisdom – Part 2


The word "fear" has a large range of spectrum in its meaning from terror or dread, to wonderful, reverence, or awe.  However, all of these meanings can be put into two categories: either it is beneficial or it is baneful as G. B. Funderburk said.  When we talk about the fear of the Lord in relation to wisdom, we use the word as a beneficial term.  Job 37:22 says, “Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible [Hebrew word for fear; NASB and NIV translate it as “awesome”] majesty. 23Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. 24 Men do therefore fear [NIV-revere] him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.”  When a man comes to the presence of God and knows Him as He is, he will sense a feeling of awesome fear.  Therefore, the fear of the Lord is a man’s proper emotional and mental response to the greatness and majesty of God. 

The fear of the Lord is the ground of the goodness of man.

There is a general idea that the fear of the Lord helps us to form a right attitude toward God and fellowmen.  It also encourages us to trust in Him even more.  Exodus 14:31 says, “And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared [NASB margin – revered] the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.”  What Israel saw was God’s delivery from His deadly judgment upon Egypt.  Israel’s response to God’s work was from awe and reverence.  Exodus 20:20 says, “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.”  When God spoke to Israel through Moses, the children of Israel were stricken by the fear of the Lord for His majesty and holiness.  This fear came from the presence of God, which prevented the children of Israel from sinning.  The goodness of man is grounded in the fear of the Lord according to Leviticus 19:14, saying, “Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.”  Leviticus 25:17 also says, “Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear [NASB – revere] thy God: for I am the LORD your God.”  By fearing God, we treat our brethren fairly.  The close connection between honor and fear of God is found in Leviticus 19:32 says, “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear [NASB and NIV – revere] thy God: I am the LORD.” 

The fear of the Lord is the ground of obedience.

The book of Deuteronomy takes a very special place in the study of the fear of the Lord.  Deuteronomy 4:10 says, “Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.”  According to this verse, the word of God teaches His people to fear God.  There are a few implications in the verse concerning the nature of the fear of the Lord.  First, it is possible for us to learn to fear God.  It implies that there are some people who may not fear God.  It also implies that some people may not understand what it means to fear God.  Second, the fear of the Lord may be misunderstood.  Thus, people need to be taught to fear God.  Third, this verse was spoken to the people of God, which is an indication that they need to be taught to fear God correctly and rightly.  Fourth, the textbook for the subject of the fear of the Lord is the Word of God.  Deuteronomy 14:23 says, “And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.”  Deuteronomy 17:19 says, “And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein [the law of God] all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them.”  Again and again, it is indicated that the people of God need to learn to fear God through the learning of His Word.  It indicates that we cannot be ignorant of God’s Word, while we desire to fear Him.  Psalm 34:11 says, “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”  It also means that we ought to fear God on His terms, not our own feelings or definitions. 

Deuteronomy 5:29 says, “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!”  Here is an indication that there is a close tie between the fear of the Lord and the obedience to His commandments. 

There must not be any dichotomized believer: on the one hand we claim to be believers in the fear of the Lord, and on the other hand there is no obedience to His commandments.  Deuteronomy 6:2 says, “That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.”  The obedience to the commandments of God is another expression of the fear of the Lord on our part.  Deuteronomy 6:13 says, “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.”  The object of our fear is the Lord our God.  When a man has a personal relationship with God, he can finally learn to fear Him.  We fear the Lord “our God.”  Deuteronomy 6:24 says, “And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.”  The purpose of God’s statues is to help His people to learn to fear Him.  Deuteronomy 8:6 says, “Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him”  Deuteronomy 10:12 says, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”  Here we see an expansion of the meaning of the fear of the Lord.  To fear God is parallel with walking in His ways, loving Him, and serving Him.  Deuteronomy 13:14 says, “Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.”  Again, to walk after God is the same as to fear Him and to keep His commandments. 

 

Deuteronomy 28:58 says, “If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD.”  In the context, God is declaring a few conditions against which He will send His judgments.  One of them is not to observe all the words of God’s law.  The purpose of His law is to help us to fear the Lord properly.  Deuteronomy 31:12-13 says, “Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.”  There are a few things in this verse.  There is an order: hear the Word of God, learn it, fear the Lord, and observe all the words taught.  It reminds us of the teachings in Romans 10.  Faith comes from hearing, and hearing is from the Word of God. 

In conclusion, we have seen that the fear of the Lord is not a worked-up feeling of some numinous awe, but the result of hearing, learning, and responding to God’s Word (Deuteronomy 4:10; 8:6).   The fear of the Lord goes hand in hand with keeping His commands, walking after Him, serving Him, loving Him, and cleaving to Him (Deuteronomy 10:12-13; 13:5).

Lovingly,

Your Pastor

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

  • Welcome to our pulpit: Rev Edward Paauwe.
  • Special thanks to organisers & participants of IF Retreat.
  • Q & A Session regarding Church extension/ renovations will be held after lunch today. All members are encouraged to attend.
  • Funeral Service for Bro Lucas Lee will be held at Florey Chapel, Centennial Park Cemetery at 10 am, Sat, 19 Oct.
  • Adult & Junior Daily Manna (Oct-Dec) available in the Foyer. Gold coin donation.
  • Please observe all parking signs. Council fines apply. Please DO NOT block our neighbours’ driveways & DO NOT park along the streets north & west of our church compound (on Bedford Sq.).
  • Lunch Duty: This week: AFG. Next week: YAF.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily providence, protection & guidance.
  • Church visitors & activities in the past week.
  • IF Retreat: Rev William Yap & his ministry to our young people, the organisers & participants.
  • Journey mercies: Rev William Yap (S’pore); campers; interstate campers (WA); others who have travelled.

 

Prayer

  • Healing: Rev George van Buuren; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); and others i affliction.
  • God’s comfort in grief for Elder Michael & Sis Alice Lee & family on the homegoing of Bro Lucas Lee.
  • God’s comfort in grief for Bro Richard & Sis Margaret Pearson on the homegoing of Sis Margaret Pearson (Senior).
  • Transfer of membership – Bro Dwight Lim.
  • Year 12 students as they prepare for exams.
  • Missions – Sis Esther Kim & orphanage (Bandung).
  • Journey mercies: Those who are travelling.

 

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063