When studying the scripture our main aim should always be to know the Lord, draw nearer to him, and ultimately be transformed to live more like him. As we gaze into glory, the very glory of the Father illustrated through the Word of God, we are to be transformed to be more like this God we serve (2 Cor.3:18). But there is no transformation without revelation, and there is no benefit to be experienced from revelation if we’re not willing to move onto application. We must submit our lives to God day by day, and in this submission we understand that accepting, revering, and receiving and acting on God’s word wholeheartedly is paramount. In our day, we need to receive what God’s word says about who God is. We need to receive what God’s word says not only about his grace, love, and mercy, but also what it says about his fear and righteous judgment. The fear of the Lord is meant to be understood, scripturally, as one of God’s own names and titles.
1 “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
3 The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD."
As the Lord our God has rights to the title and name of “Holy Spirit”, He equally has rights to the title and name of “The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord”. You must accept this if you are to be found a faithful believer and follower of Christ. To receive Christ is to receive the word. They are one in the same according to scripture (Jn.1:14; Rev.19:13). To receive Christ and the word is to receive this God we serve as the Spirit whose name is Fear. Think on that for a moment....
I submit to you today that the church of Jesus Christ is guilty of picking and choosing our favorite titles and names for Jehovah. We’re ashamed of who God really is so we ignore or even change scriptures that talk about such virtues that we’re not in agreement with. We’re guilty of picking and choosing our favorite attributes of God and parking on those attributes.
I find it interesting that the attributes of God which are most popular for people to favor are conducive to large crowds, lucrative organizations, popularity, and acceptance by men and women of all backgrounds. Thanks be to God that the apostles and prophets of scripture, who formed the foundation for our faith producing our sola scriptura, were willing to put their heads under the axe of the executioner for speaking the full counsel of God, not just pieces and parts of the word they were given that produce safe popularity and skirt controversy. Their willingness to stand for the word and fully represent God in all of his attributes is why we have our faith today. There is no faith apart from the pure robust testimony of scripture imparted by faithful witnesses that delivered it faithfully.
BENEFITS AND BLESSINGS OF GOD MANIFESTING HIS FEAR
When opening up the scripture to study God in his state of fear, we see many benefits and blessings that this personhood provides for both the church and mankind.
“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.”
We see that the fear of God is released as a tangible anointing and impartation of His spirit which serves as a grace to aide in helping men “depart” from sin and evil:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
We see from the scripture that one cannot even begin to step into true wisdom until they experience the person of God’s fear. It truly is the beginning of wisdom. It leads to the “knowledge of the Holy One” which in turn causes one to begin to “understand” the things of God. To have the knowledge of the Holy One is to begin to “know God”. This is why it’s easy to spot frauds in the prophetic movement who claim to know God through encounters. If there is no fear of God in their lives they don’t know him. It’s that simple. To know God is to know his fear. To fear God is to behold the beauty of the Lord which is only found in his holiness!
“And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.”
Going deeper into the biblical study of God as Fear, we see that wisdom is embodied in fear. To stand in wisdom is to stand in the fear of the Lord. Then we see that the natural process moving forward from there is to “depart from evil”. This is what God calls “understanding”. In other words, when you live in the fear of God, God’s ways start to make perfect sense. You see the brilliance of his way, the beauty of it, and the great blessing it procures when you walk in it. A man cannot truly claim to have both wisdom and understanding according to God’s standards unless He walks in the fear of the Lord and departs from evil. These are the fruits of a man whose been baptized into the fear of the Lord, along with God’s wisdom and understanding. It produces the God-life in a man.
7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”
The “law of the Lord” can be understood as “the word of the Lord” (vs.7). The word of the Lord is perfect, and it converts the soul (Ja.1:21). God’s testimony makes us wise. The word brings forth statutes and commandments (vs.8). These things are not for our displeasure, but for our own good. Notice the progression of these things here in David’s nineteenth psalm. The word moves ones to understand his fear, and fear moves one to understand his judgments.
To keep the Lord’s commandments is to love God (Jn.14:15,23). In this loving relationship our eyes begin to be enlightened (vs.8). This then leads to the fear of the Lord (vs.9). Do you see how there is just a beautiful flow of God’s spirit here? Isn’t it marvelous. As we love God we experience his word, his testimony, and the benefits and the beauty of his commandments. As we experience the beauty and benefits of his word we receive revelation along with the fear of the Lord. It’s all apart of the beautiful experience we have in knowing Christ!
Look again at how the maturation of such a spirit flow naturally produces God’s righteous judgments (vs.9). I assure you that when David wrote this psalm under the inspiration of Jehovah, he did not accidently put fear and judgment in there together. It is firmly a part of knowing the beauty of such a God!
When you know God’s fear you will see his judgments, and because you live in God’s wisdom, his knowledge, and his understanding, you can say confidently with David, “His judgments are true and righteous altogether” (vs.9). There will be no resistance in you. There will be no disdain for these righteous acts. There will be no confusing God’s righteous judgments with the acts of abusive religious clergy, for one is beautiful while the other is detestable. The judgments that you see will be discerned by revelation. This revelation only comes when you love the word.
So I ask you, dear reader, why are so many in the church today offended with God’s judgments? Why do we resist them? I tell you, it’s because we don’t know God. If you knew him you’d fear him. If you feared him you’d know his wisdom, his understanding, his logic. The fact that God’s person of fear coupled with his righteous judgments do not fit into our religious social construct in the church today is evidence enough of how far we have fallen; of how far away from God we truly are. Have we been set up today like Israel of old to miss God when He truly visits us in his glory because we do not know him? Will we like the Pharisees keep attributing the holiness of God to the work of Beelzebub and be in danger of blaspheming the Spirit of God today as well? Lord help us.
David, having known God better than most this side of eternity, spoke forth the truth about what it means to know the fear of God and the judgments of God. It is to behold his beauty, the beauty of his holiness. It is to know the desire of God (vs.10). It is to taste of the sweetness of God, which he describes as being like honey (Ps.19:10). This is what I call “biblical fact”. To resist such a revelation is to resist God himself. The words are clearly spoken concerning God’s judgment and his fear, just as the prophecies concerning Messiah’s coming were clearly articulated by most prophets during the old covenant dispensation. Will we miss God as He comes today like the Jews did because we don’t love the word? I pray not.
In His Service, Stephen Powell
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