Absence and Presence of the Fear of the Lord

We established last week that basically no amount of lofty education, head knowledge, and even intelligence will ever yield us true wisdom from God.  Rather a healthy dose of the “fear of” God will begin the process to get us there (Prov. 1:7).  But what does it mean to fear God, you might ask.

If you’re like me, it would help you to know first, what the “fear of the Lord” is NOT.

The absence of the fear of God

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.  And he describes the lack of this fear of God in the church this way:

“I am convinced that the great cause of trouble in the Christian church today, including the evangelical section, is the absence of conviction of sin, the absence of humility, the absence of the godliness that runs right through the whole Bible. We are too healthy, we are too glib, we are too self-assured, too confident in ourselves and what we do. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). How much of “the fear of the LORD” is there among us and in the church at the present time?”

On the other hand when we can say that…

The Presence of the fear of the Lord is when a woman:

  • Seeks God’s glory not her own.  She gets that God is not just merciful, gracious, just, or love, but he is “holy, holy, holy, is the LORD Almighty!”   (Rev. 15:4; Isa 6:3)
  • Serves with integrity she doesn’t show partiality.  Her husband’s heart is safe  with her.  Her word is trustworthy.  She’s not simply fair – she’s seeks justice.  (2 Chron. 19:7)
  • She calls sin, sin and she does not make excuses. The truth has truly set her free.  She has biblical convictions and she stands by those convictions.  (Job 28:28)
  • Strives for purity even when it is not popular. She puts on the apron of humility and takes great pains to serve the Lord and others with her words, her dress, and her demeanor.  (Psalm 19:9)
  • Is humble, she gets that humility comes before honor (Prov. 15:33).  She considers others as more important than herself.  She doesn’t think she’s above sin or falling.  She doesn’t trust in her own understanding.  She doesn’t trust in her gifts, abilities, or accomplishments.  Her trust is in the Lord.
  • She does not live for herself but for others.  She serves.  She serves her husband, her children, her church, her community.
  • She serves faithfully and wholeheartedly (2 Chron. 19:9). She serves like her Master, Jesus: fully devoted to obey the will of God.
  • She runs to God not from God. She doesn’t run away to satisfy her longings.  She does not run away to hide from her sin.  She stays and repents, confesses, and is reconciled.
  • She remembers God’s promises.  She holds her thoughts captive and remembers God’s promises.  She casts all her anxieties on Him.
  • She fears God, not man or the future.  She knows that, if God is for her, who can be against her? (Rom 8:31) She is not anxious about the future.  She hopes in God.
  • She is strong and resists her temptation to envy.  Her desire to please the Lord is greater than her own worldly desires (Prov. 23:17).

Let me end with the words of Isaiah (8:13-14a) and may they become precious to you as they are to me now.  They remind me that this fear of God ought to be both – a joy and a terror:  A joy to those who take it seriously and are both restrained and persuaded by it; and a terror for those who are foolish enough to think that they can go on living and not repenting of their sin, not humbly serving, and not living to glorify God.

“But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary [emphasis by me]

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