Pastor always says fear the Lord. Why should we fear Lord? What does it mean?
Ecclesiastes 12:13. “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion. Fear God and obey his commands, for this everyone’s duty.”
The Solomon was the wisest person ever lived on the face of the earth. When he became old, after recounting the whole incidents happened in his life, he gave only summarized advice and that is “Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.”
Solomon, what happened to you?
Solomon’s life history shows us another side of the truth -even the wisest man can go through seasons of life without a genuine fear of the Lord. Solomon began his life with the fear of the Lord but later disobeyed the Lord by loving many foreign women and going with them to the pagan temples to worship their god. Bible says, these foreign women he loved surely turned his heart away from the one and true Lord. He even built altars for their pagan gods, to please his wives. God gave him all the wisdom but he chose to disobey God in the latter part of his life. This is so sad to see a man who began very well ended up in such a pathetic condition toward the end of his life. May this never happened to us! My prayer is Lord, guard my heart with fear and faith in you for all of my days on this earth. Bible truthfully describes all these details so that we can learn and avoid such pitfalls in our lives. “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction.” (Romans 15:4). Bible says God finally announced His judgment on Solomon in these words, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Nevertheless, I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” (1 Kings 11:11-13).
First lesson – God will judge our sins severely if we harden our hearts and don’t turn away from it.
Basically, Solomon couldn’t control his lustful passions for this world and the things the world can offer. However, he learned a big lesson and shared his life’s lesson with us in Ecclesiastes 12:13. He wrote these words after describing the pursuits of his life, “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion. Fear God and obey his commands, for this everyone’s duty.”
What went wrong with Solomon? Did he lose his fear of the Lord after a while? Definitely, he feared the Lord at the beginning of his kingship in Israel. He should have learned the lesson to fear God from his father David who paid dearly for many, many years for his disobedience of adultery and murder. (2 Samuel 11). He should have learned that God chastens His children like human fathers disciplines their children (Hebrews 12:6). Solomon knew the hardship and pain his father David gone through due to the sins he committed.
Second lesson -confession and turning back to the Lord is the key that Solomon apparently missed.
The book of Psalms gives us the glimpse of David’s dark days due to the consequence of his sins against the Lord. David survived because he confessed his sins to the Lord and pleaded for His mercy. (Psalm 51). Solomon should also have learned from his own half-brother, Absalom who rebelled against the plan of God. Absalom was killed by the Lord due to his wickedness and rebelliousness. (2 Samuel 18). David turned back to God by confessing his sins and survived and restored from his failings, (Psalm 51 and 32) but Absalom and Solomon didn’t. Turning back to the Lord and pleading for God’s mercy by confessing our sins is the key to forgiveness and restoration.
How does fear of the Lord looks like?
Bible claims the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). This means a person who does not fear the Lord does not have the true wisdom. A true wisdom begins with a fear of the Lord and His precepts. Bible also says fear of the Lord leads to life. “The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” (Proverbs 19:23). Not only fear of the Lord is the beginning of a life of wisdom but also it leads one to a good life, gives rest and protects from troubles. Psalm 119:99-101 says a person can become wiser than his teachers, have more understanding than the older people and avoid every evil way by fearing the Lord by obeying His Word which is the Bible.
“I am wiser than all my teachers,
because I think about your rules.
I have more understanding than the elders,
because I follow your orders.
I have avoided every evil way
so I could obey your word.”
Our fear of the Lord comes from a high reverence to His name and his commands. God loved us and He gave His only begotten son, Christ Jesus, to save us from hell. God gives us health, energy, new mornings, new evenings, rain in its season, spouse, children, food. All these come from the hand of the good Lord. God’s love toward us must prompt us to revere and fear Him voluntarily and willingly. Therefore, we will fear God with a holy reverence toward Him.
So many examples of people are given in the Bible so that we will learn the consequences of not fearing the Lord and start living our lives in a high honor of God and obeying his commands. Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding has all those who practice it.” (Psalm 111:10). It simply goes like this. If you have a heart of fearing the Lord and obeying his commands, automatically you will become wiser than your friends and relatives and when you continue practicing the fear of the Lord, you will have a better understanding than the people around you. In other words, you will start making unwise and stupid decisions and actions if you don’t fear the Lord. You will lose the understanding ability if you don’t have a heart of fearing the Lord. You and I can witness several examples of unwise actions just because of the absence of the fear of the Lord in our own county these days (USA). This is true in all over the world. People make stupid and unwise decisions just because of the absence of the fear of the Lord. When you fear the Lord you will have reverence for Him and his commands and you will live differently to honor the Lord through your conversations and actions. Solomon failed in this and paid dearly for his consequence. Now he is admonishing everyone who read his biography to keep this eternal truth in their heart- He says this is the final conclusion of all – fear God and obey His commands, for this the divinely ordained duty of all mankind.
Fear of the Lord means we should fear to do sins because God is holy and He hates sin and he punishes sin. Hebrews 10:30-31 says, “For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” God says He will repay and judge the sins of people.
Bible describes Highly Exalted God and His holiness and Prophet Isaiah’s sin in these verses in Isaiah chapter 6. It says, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices, the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it, he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Isaiah saw the glory of God and His holiness. This knowledge of God’s glory and perfect holiness resulted in an awareness of his sins and he said “Woe to me!” He agreed he is a man of unclean lips and lives among such people. On the admission or confession of his sins, God sent a solution to his sin issue and guilt is taken away and atoned for.
We can not hide it away, anyway.
Bible also says we cannot hide ourselves or our action from an ever-present God. Bible asks this question in Psalm 139, “where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I got up to the heavens, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will guide me… If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Sometimes people do bad things in the night time, in the darkest hours, and they think nobody would see what they do. It may be true no other human being would see, but for God, darkness and night are like the day and He sees all. That is why we should fear the Lord. The fear of the Lord can protect us from doing sin and involving in evil things. Fear of the Lord leads to a successful life because a person who has fear of the Lord can avoid many pitfalls that are caused by sin.
Fear of the Lord can initiate two different paths in your life
The fear of the Lord can direct our thoughts in two different ways. If you are a child of God (means if you have already accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, who is God’s solution for our sin problem), the fear of the Lord keeps you safe from sins and evil things by obeying His commandment. To a child of God, fear of the Lord means, a high reverence and honor toward the Lord God who forgave all of his sins. Such a person looks at the cross of Christ and understands the greatness and wow of God’s love because the cross of Jesus Christ vividly pictures two things -the deep love of God toward him and the wrath of God toward his sins. Your life will become more safe and secure because you keep a holy fear and reverence to God and you don’t really want to disobey and dishonor His commands who loved you, saved you and granted you eternal life in heaven with Him. This results in a far superior quality of life on this earth.
On the contrary, the fear of the Lord also can also produce negative dreadful feelings of God’s wrath in a person who is not yet become a child of God. This is because such a person lives in dreadful and constant fear of his sins, wrong and evil actions. He knows he is accountable to holy God for his sins and wickedness. The reason is his or her sins issue was not settled as of yet. However, this can be once for all settled and they also can freely enjoy the love, mercy and grace of God (instead of dread, terror and wrath) if they come to God and agree with God their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their savor because God can cover you with divine forgiveness and love, available by the shed blood of Christ for the remission of sins, and thereby you can become a child of God. The sin of humanity is atoned for by Christ, the sacrificial lamb, on the cross and you can come out clean and blameless from all your sins and its punishment if you call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and seek His forgiveness. There is no need to live in the fear of the wrath of God anymore. God loves you and wants to forgive and cleanse you to become a new creature in Him. You can born again into God’s family by coming to Lord Jesus Christ now.
Finally, Perfect Love of Christ casts out our fear.
Bible says in 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment.” In this chapter, Bible says, God is love and He made His love complete and publicly showed us on the cross by allowing His son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sin in our place so that we will have confidence on the day of Judgment. Jesus became the sin-bearer for our sins. The wrath of God is on us because of our sins, right? However, God put all those sins on Christ and he took the punishment for all our sins. Now God’s perfect love is perfectly portrayed on the cross by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ can cast out all our fear. God so loved you and again I say God so loved you. Again God so loved you- “that He gave His only begotten son so that whoever believed in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Suppose you have aids because of your sinful life in the past and suppose I come to your deathbed and took all those aids disease from your body and placed it on my body. If this is possible, what is going to happen? I will die in your place and you will live and get forgiveness of your sins. This is what God did for you in and through the savior of the world- Jesus Christ. God placed all your sins on Jesus Christ who paid it all for you with his sinless and divine blood. Now you don’t need to spend your days in fear of your sins and wickedness.
Beautiful -Fear of the Lord becomes a reasonable service of worship
Why don’t you allow yourself to be gripped and stunned by the love of God portrayed on the cross for you personally? Then it becomes easy to keep a highly loving, highly regarded, honorable, awesome fear toward the Lord. Not arrested and captured by a fearful dreadfulness of the wrath of God, but captured by the greatness of His love, grace and mercies that He had portrayed for you in and through the person of Jesus Christ, so that you will lovingly, willingly and honorably fear the Lord and obey His commandments. Then our life becomes a living sacrifice for the Lord who loved so deep and it becomes our reasonable service of worship to Him on an ongoing basis. (Romans 12:1). May the good Lord achieve this in our personal lives.
All praise, glory and worship to Him alone.