There’s probably no better way to realign our hearts and attitudes in our perverse generation than to enter God’s presence with thanksgiving on our lips.
Why should we all give thanks to God?
Psalm 95:2 tells us: “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving…” But why?
Verse 3-7 tells us about God’s unique greatness. We have every reason to thank Him when we just think deeply that He is the One who made the sea, the mountains, the dry land and us. Therefore, He urges us in verse 11 to not harden our hearts or we will not enter His rest .
How does trusting God connect with observing the Creator’s works and avoiding deception?
Psalm 40:4-5 tells us: “Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”
Do you think it takes some effort for us to stand still and observe God’s works?
Job 37:14 tells us: “…stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.”
Let’s consider just 3 from the excellent devotional, Inspired Evidence, by Bruce Malone and Julie VonVett.
- From January 7th – Why was Dr Semmelweiss ridiculed for doing what Scripture prescribed?
- From December 24th – What do Adam and Eve have to do with Christmas?
- > From November 15th – What blessing can you thank God for every time you blink?
There are endless examples of God’s wondrous works worth considering, aren’t there?
What does the Lord require from you?
Moses writes in Deuteronomy 10:12-13: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?” Don’t miss the object of that declaration… In God’s perfect providence our response to rightly ‘fear God’ is all for our good.
Psalm 118:6 “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
NIV – “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Some might ask, “What right does the Lord have to require this of His children?”
The next verse, Deuteronomy 10:14, tells us: “Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.” The same truth is reflected in the familiar Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell in it.”
Does Jesus say anything to validate this requirement to “fear God” of His disciples?
Matthew 28:19-20 is one example. “Go and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
In John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” That’s abiding isn’t it?
Many might secretly be asking in their hearts, “How long will unrighteous wicked people prevail?”
The Psalmist asks in Psalm 94:3-4: “LORD, how long shall the wicked … triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?”
Reading Psalm 94:5-7 I’m reminded of the harsh realities we all see in the wicked world today: “They crush Your people, O LORD, And afflict Your heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger and murder the orphans. They have said, “The LORD does not see, Nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.” Does this remind you of the flagrant excesses of humanistic – evolutionary secularism in today’s society?
What follows tells me that God’s Merciful Invitation doesn’t excuse hard-hearted ignorance among his own people.
Going on in Psalm 94, verse 8 offers a stinging rebuke: “Pay heed, you senseless among the people; And when will you understand, stupid ones?” If we’re wise sons and daughters we’ll receive the reprimand of our loving father and listen closely to His correction.
Notice he appeals to reason based on the obvious testimony of His creation.
Psalm 94:9 tells us: “He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see?
Psalm 139:14 declares the obvious reality that “my soul knows very well” that God’s wonderful works are clearly seen (doesn’t that remind us of Roman 1:20? The things that are made declare God’s very power and nature). “I will give THANKS to Thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Meditate a moment on the marvel of your ears and your eyes. It will strengthen your confidence in God’s power when challenged by willingly blind fools who refuse to see the obvious. How many miracles can you see in your eyes? Consider…
- The rotating sphere of the eye
- The muscles coordinating the movements of the eye
- The bones protecting the eye
- The essential part of the visual system itself: pupil, cornea, lens, retina, optic nerve, aqueous humor – wonders without number beyond what we can comprehend.
- Tears produced with perfect chemicals to protect the eye and even produce compounds that relieve emotional stress when you cry
One of the greatest impossibilities shaming those who deny a Creator is to explain how natural selection or random mutation could evolve such a phenomenally complex organ as the human eye. They forget that none of the hundreds of thousands of imagined intermediate mutations could have any value until the entire system was in place to allow vision to take place. The only rational conclusion is that God created the fully developed human eye when He created Adam and Eve. The eye is engineered far more precisely than a modern, sophisticated camera. In a manner similar to advanced cameras, the human eye displays advanced autofocus features with a remarkable ability to adjust the muscles of the iris automatically at a phenomenal speed. The lens of your eye modifies its shape through tiny muscles that allow the eye to correctly focus on an object that is moving toward you or away from you. This act is not unlike the workings of a sophisticated, computer-controlled modern camera when it calculates distances and automatically adjusts to bring the object into focus. The lens of your eye is constructed of microscopic and transparent living cells containing no blood. These cells allow light photons to enter through the cornea, pass through the fluid, and be analyzed by the phenomenal organ known as the retina. To understand the complexity and sophistication of the engineering of the eye, we need to appreciate the retina. The retina lines the back of your eye and acts as a form of film which receives the actual image composed of light photons passing through the iris, cornea and eye fluid. Your retina is thinner than paper yet its tiny surface (one inch square) contains 137 million light-sensitive cells. Approximately 95 percent of these cells are rods that can analyze black and white images, while the balance of approximately seven million cone cells are used to analyze color images. Each of these millions of cells are separately connected to the optic nerve that transmits the signal to your brain at approximately 300 miles per hour. The millions of specialized cells in your eye can analyze more than one million messages a second. The retina in your eye is the most light-sensitive object in the universe with more sophisticated in its design than even the most powerful electron microscope or spy camera. For example, the most advanced film available today can differentiate between a range of one thousand to one. However, recent experiments have confirmed that the retina of the human eye can easily differentiate and analyze a range of ten billion to one. Experiments have revealed that the retina can actually detect one single photon of light in a dark room, something beyond the range of engineering instruments. Recently, scientists have determined that the specialized cells in the retina actually partially analyze the image in the eye before it is ever transmitted through the optic nerve to the brain. These retina cells perform up to ten billion calculations per second in determining the nature of the image transmitted to the eye by light photons. No computers on earth are capable of matching these virtually instantaneous calculations.
Proverbs 1:22 rebukes scoffers, saying: “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?” Remember Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”
Let’s take to heart the message of Psalm 94:10-15: “He who chastens the nations, will He not rebuke, Even He who teaches man knowledge? The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are a mere breath. Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, And whom You teach out of Your law; That You may grant him relief from the days of adversity, Until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the LORD will not abandon His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance. For judgment will again be righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.”
Now comes God’s call to His beloved children for engagement in the battle with Him
Psalm 94:16 continues: “Who will stand up for me against evildoers? Who will take his stand for me against those who do wickedness?” If nothing else, this is a divine call to active involvement with our fellow man, who interact every day with the systems of this world.
Do you think God’s encouragement is based on His sovereign power to judge righteously?
Psalm 94:19 goes on: “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” Did you hear that?
God’s Promise of Judgment for the wicked gives hope for His faithful children who endure.
Psalm 94:21-23 promises his children: “They band themselves together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the LORD has been my stronghold, And my God the rock of my refuge. He has brought back their wickedness upon them and will destroy them in their evil; The LORD our God will destroy them.”
The Creator’s Work that He has made invites us to humbly rely on His Word.
There’s a powerful promise for us if we’ll listen closely to Isaiah 66:1-2. “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is a house that you could build for me? and where is a place that I may rest? For my hand made all these things, … but to this one will I look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at my word.” Let me ask you: are you going to fear man or fear God? Are you going to be constantly worried about being politically correct for fear of offending man? Or are you going to seek God’s will in His Word diligently enough so that you will understand the true ‘fear of the Lord?”
The only reason a Christ follower would have to fear man’s word above God’s Word is a lack of knowledge, particularly a lack of confidence in the authority of the Bible.
That’s why we’re told to “study to show yourself approved of God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed.. (i.e. embarrassed or timid about believing the whole counsel of God).
There isn’t a politically correct controversy in today’s world that doesn’t hinge on some aspect of the Bible. Will we fear man or fear God?
- Evolution – it all comes down to Exodus 20:11, the only commandment that gives us a reason for it. And the reason is the reality of the 6 days of creation 6,000 years ago, confirmed by Jesus when He said, “Haven’t you read that from the beginning, God made them male and female…” (Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6).
- Human Rights to Life, liberty and the pursuit of property – Pro-Life
- Sexual morality and Marriage – gender identity
- Environmentalism, climate control/change
- Submission to governing authorities and lawless bureaucracies
- Secularism – the cultural demand to eliminate God from public discussion.
- Education of children and Parental rights
- Health, dietary and medical choices
That reminds me of what Jesus said privately to His disciples before His death.
In John 14:23, he said: “If anyone loves me he will keep My word and My father will love him, and We will come to him, and make our abode with him.” Just a few verses on, Jesus says in John 15:4: “Abide in Me and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself; unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you (bear fruit) unless you abide in Me… apart from Me you can do nothing.” Is that enough reason for us to have fear of God rather than man?
The FEAR of GOD
Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
When something is repeated in Scripture do you suppose such emphasis is important? Loving God, His Name, His Law and His Word is mentioned 88 times in the Bible. Trusting God and His Word occurs 91 times. But there are an impressive 278 exhortations in the Bible to fear God. What did we read in Deuteronomy 10:12? “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul.” There’s the definition of what it means to “fear God.” Hear it again. “what does the Lord your God ask of you, but to fear the Lord your God,… [which means] … to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul.” If you’re half-hearted in your obedience to God – casual and disengaged from the personal connection to Him – what do you suppose that says about your being “hot or cold” with God? And we remember what Jesus said about spitting out of his mouth those who are ‘lukewarm.’
Proverbs 20:25 “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.”
The Fear of God is mentioned more than any other aspect of devotion. The reverential awe, respect and fear of God must be the primary attitude of our Faith. Any concept of God that does not lead us to fear Him and obey His Law cannot be a Biblical view. Guess where this is found: ““Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” It’s Revelation 14:7. The link from fearing God to the fact that He is the Creator makes me realize it’s no wonder that the greatest deception of the deceiver-devil himself is his relentless attack on the truth of Genesis. It’s exactly why the apostle Peter prophesied that scoffers in the last days would use their excuse of the fallacy of uniformitarianism to deny the six day Biblical creation and the global flood of Noah (2 Peter 3:3-6).
As we Worship God alone how can we be confident He hears us?
In the Psalms, the prayer and song book of the Bible, the Fear of the Lord is declared to be the highest expression of worship – 62 times! “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love.” Psalm 33:18
Who has the privilege of God’s Angels on assignment for Protection and Deliverance?
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and He delivers them… Fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing.” Psalm 34:7-8
Who has the promise of the Lord’s imputed righteousness for their grandchildren?
“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children” Psalm l03:17
Do you want Wisdom and Understanding?
“He provides food for those who fear Him… He remembers His Covenant forever… the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding.” Psalm 111:5, 10.
His Forgiveness of Sins humbles us to fear Him.
“…if You, O Lord, kept a record of sin, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, therefore You are feared.” Psalm 130:2-4 Our awe for Him is beyond description.
What is the Fountainhead of divine Virtues?
In the Proverbs, the Fear of the Lord is referred to 15 times as being the source of wisdom, knowledge, discretion, truthfulness and morality. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7
Those Who Fear God humbly receive Knowledge and Accept Rebuke.
“Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept My advice and spurned My rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways …for the waywardness of the simple will kill them and the complacency of fools will destroy them”. Proverbs 1:29-32
“To fear the Lord is to hate evil, I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Proverbs 8:13
How does fearing God lead to Abundant Life
“The fear of the Lord adds length to life.” Proverbs 10:27
“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor-blessings and prosperity will be yours.” Psalm 128:1-2
Courage to Oppose Evil – “A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil…” Proverbs 14:16
“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for His children it will be a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:26-27
“Through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.” Proverbs 16:6
“The fear of the Lord leads to life.” Proverbs 19:23
“They will be My people and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear Me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting Covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them and I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me.” Jeremiah 32:38-40
We need to model for our children the fear of the Lord (Psalm 34:11).
To fear the Lord will involve keeping “your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:13-14). We need to teach respect for the Name of God, for His Church and for His Word – the Bible. “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.” Psalm 19:9
A Motivation for Evangelism
“Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others…” 2 Corinthians 5:11
“…now realize …that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.” Acts 10:34-35
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” Hebrews 10:26-27
God Will Judge Each One’s Work
“Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear“ 1 Peter 1:17
“Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29
Give God the Honor Due to Him
“Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” 1 Peter 2:17
Fearing God isThe Essential Foundation for national Freedom and Justice.
If we do not fear the wrath of God, then we will not appreciate the love of God. Only the Fear of God can produce lasting justice and righteousness in individuals, families, churches and nations. Only to the degree that people fear God and obey His commandments can society function for the good and freedom of all of its people. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” Psalm 33:12
Until we learn to fear God, we will be enslaved to the fear of man.
People-pleasers make traitors. We need to please God and be freed from the fear of man. The first time our Lord came as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The next time – He will not come as a Lamb. He will come as the Lion and He will destroy His enemies.
God’s precious promises really take root in the heart of a confident abiding believer, fearing God.
“…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“…we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
“…submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Liberating, Inspiring and Empowering
The fear of man will prove to be a snare. The fear of God is liberating.
The fear of God will enable us to stand firm when others are falling back.
The fear of God will enable us to stand up when others remain seated.
The fear of God will empower us to step out in Faith when others draw back in fear.
The fear of God will empower us to fight the good fight of Faith when others surrender.