Fear God

INTRODUCTION: How should we consider fear as it relates to God? In scripture sometimes the word fear may clearly mean to be afraid, or it may seem to indicate respect. There are other Hebrew and Greek words translated as esteem, respect, and honor that could have been used if that had been the more applicable meaning in certain verses. After reviewing scripture that describes fear in relation to our creator God, perhaps we might be less likely to think only of respect for our Lord IN TERMS OF deferential regard or esteem, without the proper amount of genuine fear that is set aside only by his perfect love for those who have received salvation by grace through faith. Even the chosen of the Lord can become the object of his anger by their actions that discredit his name. Appropriate fear of the almighty God can keep prideful thoughts and actins in check.

NOTE: Scripture passages are from the American King James Version.


A - RESPECT ENGENDERED BY A PROPER FEAR OF AUTHORITY AND POWER

Numbers 12 "1 And Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2 And they said, Has the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? has he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were on the face of the earth.) 4 And the LORD spoke suddenly to Moses, and to Aaron, and to Miriam, Come out you three to the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. 5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. 6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream. 7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all my house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? 9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed. 10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked on Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. 11 And Aaron said to Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech you, lay not the sin on us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. 12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his motherís womb. 13 And Moses cried to the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech you. 14 And the LORD said to Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again. 15 And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again."

COMMENTS: Aaron and Miriam were elder siblings of Moses, and they came to a point of speaking rashly against him, and thought they were equal with him to represent the LORD. The LORD directly spoke to them to show them that he had made Moses a distinct servant to him, and then asked them why they had not been afraid to speak against Moses. The anger of the LORD was kindled against them, and he departed, and the cloud left the tabernacle. Miriam immediately became leprous, and Aaron turned to Moses to ask for mercy, now showing respect and honor to the LORD's servant. Moses prayed to the LORD, who replied that Miriam was to be separated from the camp for seven days. Moses was a patient and humble man, but the LORD said they should have been afraid to speak against him, and the LORD responded to them in anger.


B - FEAR OF GOD BROUGHT THE PROMISE OF ANOTHER PROPHET LIKE MOSES

Deuteronomy 18 "15 The LORD your God will raise up to you a Prophet from the middle of you, of your brothers, like to me; to him you shall listen; 16 According to all that you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17 And the LORD said to me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brothers, like to you, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."

COMMENTS: Moses was chosen by the LORD God to speak to the children of Israel so they would not be confronted by the manifestations of the LORD that caused such great fear within them. Near the end of the life of Moses a promise was given that another profit would be provided like Moses, and that was a prophecy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, though other profits would appear in Israel over the centuries. Acts 3 "22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up to you of your brothers, like to me; him shall you hear in all things whatever he shall say to you. 23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. 24 Yes, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. 25 You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, And in your seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26 To you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." Moses was a very special prophet of God, but Christ Jesus came as God in flesh to be the Savior of all who believe.


C - JOSHUA SHOWED A RESPECTFUL FEAR OF THE ANGEL OF THE LORD

Joshua 5 "13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went to him, and said to him, Are you for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, No; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said to him, What said my Lord to his servant? 15 And the captain of the LORDís host said to Joshua, Loose your shoe from off your foot; for the place where on you stand is holy. And Joshua did so. 6:1 Now Jericho was straightly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua, See, I have given into your hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor."

COMMENTS: When Joshua first saw the man with a drawn sword, he did not approach him in a fearful manner. But as soon as the man said "as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come," Joshua fell face down to the ground and worshipped. This was an unmistakable sign of complete submission as he made himself vulnerable to the drawn sword, realizing that the one standing before him had a far greater power than just a ready sword. Joshua then asked what he was to do, and removed his sandals as instructed. In chapter 6 verse 2 above it is the LORD who speaks to Joshua, and the word LORD is in all capital letters, indicating it is the Hebrew term that designates the one true God.


D - THE PARENTS OF SAMSON SAW GOD AND WERE AFRAID THEY WOULD DIE

Judges 13 "8 Then Manoah entreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which you did send come again to us, and teach us what we shall do to the child that shall be born. 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and showed her husband, and said to him, Behold, the man has appeared to me, that came to me the other day. 11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said to him, Are you the man that spoke to the woman? And he said, I am. 12 And Manoah said, Now let your words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do to him? 13 And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, Of all that I said to the woman let her beware. 14 She may not eat of any thing that comes of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe. 15 And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, I pray you, let us detain you, until we shall have made ready a kid for you. 16 And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, Though you detain me, I will not eat of your bread: and if you will offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD. 17 And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, What is your name, that when your sayings come to pass we may do you honor? 18 And the angel of the LORD said to him, Why ask you thus after my name, seeing it is secret? 19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it on a rock to the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. 21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. 23 But his wife said to him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these."

COMMENTS: Manoah prayed to Jehovah asking that the man of God (which he thought to be a prophet) would return to them. Manoah apparently wanted to hear what his wife had heard. When the LORD answered the prayer, Manoah did not realize that this was not just a man of God, but the Angel of the LORD. When Manoah wanted to prepare a meal for the man, he was told that it must be offered to the LORD. As the angel of the LORD went up in the flames of the offering, Manoah and his wife watched, then fell on their faces to the ground. Manoah said to his wife that they would die having seen God, but by faith his wife said they would not because their offering was accepted, and the things that were spoken about their son to be born must come true.


E - RESPECT CAME BY FEAR OF PUNISHMENT

1 Samuel 12 "14 If you will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both you and also the king that reigns over you continue following the LORD your God: 15 But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers. 16 Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call to the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king. 18 So Samuel called to the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. 19 And all the people said to Samuel, Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we die not: for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. 20 And Samuel said to the people, Fear not: you have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; 21 And turn you not aside: for then should you go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. 22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great nameís sake: because it has pleased the LORD to make you his people."

COMMENTS: Samuel told the people that if they would fear the LORD, serve him, obey his commands, and not rebel against him, then they would continue to follow him: but if not, the hand of the LORD would be against them, as it was against their fathers. To verify his words, Samuel prayed to the LORD for a definite sign. When the thunder and rain came, all the people greatly feared the LORD, and they greatly feared the prophet Samuel. They subjected themselves to Samuel's authority calling themselves his servants as they asked him to pray for them to the LORD so they would not die. They did not say pray to "our God," but to Samuel "your God." Samuel warned them not to turn to vain things, but to serve the LORD with all their heart. The closing emphasis was on the LORD: "he will not forsake his people for his great nameís sake: because it has pleased the LORD to make you his people."


F - KING DAVID GAVE CAUSE FOR THE LORD TO BE BLASPHEMED

2 Samuel 12 "10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house; because you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. 11 Thus said the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house, and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. 13 And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said to David, The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However,, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die."

COMMENTS: David, the man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), was firmly established as king over Israel, but he greatly sinned before the LORD by taking the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be his wife. David had many wives, but he took another man's wife knowing that this was an offense against the LORD. The level of respect he had for the LORD at this point ignored the consequences of sin to himself and to others. this was quite a contrast to his strong position before he became king, that he would not kill King Saul because Saul was the LORD's anointed. 1 Samuel 26 "23 The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the LORD delivered you into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth my hand against the LORDís anointed." The child that David had with Uriah's wife died, and David suffered further consequences as violent conflict within his own household followed him the rest of his life. Should not believers today also fear the possible consequences of sin in the flesh before a Holy God, even though our soul is secure?


G - ISAIAH SAW THE LORD

Isaiah 6 "1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he did fly. 3 And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the middle of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."

COMMENTS: When this profit of God saw a vision of the LORD he cried out in passionate grief and despair, feeling undone (i.e. perished, ruined, destroyed, unraveled) because he recognized that he was not without sin, and he was among people who were also unclean (i.e. defiled, impure, polluted) before a holy God. Isaiah was a man chosen by the LORD to be a prophet during the reign of four kings. Isaiah 1 "1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah." Being a prophet chosen by God did not lift Isaiah from his absolute humility before the LORD of all creation.


H - WORDS FROM THE PROPHET JEREMIAH

Jeremiah 10 "3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. 4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. 5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. 6 For as much as there is none like to you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might. 7 Who would not fear you, O King of nations? for to you does it appertain: for as much as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like to you. 8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities. 9 Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men. 10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation."

COMMENTS: Jeremiah wrote of the utter vanity or emptiness of the people who worshipped idols made by the hand of man, rather than the true and living God who formed man from the dust of the earth. Jeremiah said there was no reason to fear these idols because they had no power to do evil or good. In contrast, there is none like the LORD who is great and his name is great in tremendous and unequalled power. Jeremiah wrote that there should be none who do not fear the king of all nations and people, because there is no man whose power is even close to compare. So worshiping the idols of men's hand, or of men's imagination, is all together vain and foolish. The LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his fierce anger the whole earth shall tremble and quake, and the people of all nations shall not be able to withstand his furious indignation. The only true God commands respect and honor from all, because he is to be feared above all else.


I - DANIEL WAS OVERWHELMED BY HIS FEAR, OR RESPECT OF GOD

Daniel 10 "4 And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; 5 Then I lifted up my eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: 6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. 7 And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell on them, so that they fled to hide themselves. 8 Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. 9 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. 10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me on my knees and on the palms of my hands. 11 And he said to me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright: for to you am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood trembling. 12 Then said he to me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that you did set your heart to understand, and to chasten yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I am come for your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, see, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I am come to make you understand what shall befall your people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. 15 And when he had spoken such words to me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. 16 And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spoke, and said to him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned on me, and I have retained no strength. 17 For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. 18 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, 19 And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be to you, be strong, yes, be strong. And when he had spoken to me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for you have strengthened me."

COMMENTS: Daniel was at the bank of the Tigris River (Hiddekel) with some other men, when he saw a very startling vision. The other men did not see the vision for terror seized them and they fled to hide. Daniel was also greatly afraid, but he became pale and had no strength. When he heard the voice he fell into a deep sleep with his face to the ground. A hand touched him and set him upon his hands and knees. Even though he was addressed as a man greatly beloved, when he was told to stand up and listen, he trembled as he stood. He was told not to be afraid, for his prayer and humility before God was being answered. When Daniel began to listen to the message, he bowed with his face towards the ground and was speechless. Then one who looked like a man touched his lips, and Daniel began to speak. He addressed the man as his lord (the Hebrew term could mean master or ruler, or God), and said he was overcome with anguish because of the vision, and he had lost all of his strength and could hardly breathe, being as a servant before his lord. Even though Daniel may not have been addressing this man as the LORD God, he was still overwhelmed just to be before God's messenger. The one who looked like a man touched Daniel and strengthened him, and told him not to be afraid as he again called Daniel greatly beloved, and said peace, be strong. Daniel was strengthened by this and he said Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength. What an experience this was for Daniel who had been very loyal to his God. Yet even this vision of a messenger directly from the LORD made his companions flee in terror, and more than once overwhelmed Daniel to a state of complete helplessness.


J - FEAR OF GOD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FEAR OF MAN

Matthew 10 "22 And you shall be hated of all men for my nameís sake: but he that endures to the end shall be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee you into another: for truly I say to you, You shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak you in light: and what you hear in the ear, that preach you on the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear you not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 Whoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

Hebrews 10 "26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Mosesí law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that has said, Vengeance belongs to me, I will recompense, said the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

COMMENTS: the Lord Jesus in the passage from Matthew is addressing his disciples as he contrasts fearing those who kill the body, but can do nothing to harm the soul, with fear of the Lord who can destroy both body and soul. This shows that fear of any threat of man, pales by comparison to the fear that should be understood for destruction of the soul. For all those who will not deny the Lord Jesus as a response to fearing man, the Lord Jesus provides assurance by metaphors that fearing God has the reward of saving the soul. The coming of the promised Messiah did not bring peace, for it required that rebellious man recognize the Lord, and that will bring violent conflict between open believers and the most vehement unbelievers.

There is nothing greater from which to be saved than the ultimate judgment of a holy God as described in the passage from Hebrews for those who do not truly accept salvation by grace. This is consistent with the message of the Old Testament that tells us the genuine great respect of God is a result of acknowledging that he has the power and authority to punish those who disobey his commands. Deuteronomy 8 "5 You shall also consider in your heart, that, as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you. 6 Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him." Knowing the Lord has power greater than that of a parent over a child, is the reason the believer should seek to please the Lord. King Solomon who possessed great wisdom given by the LORD, summarized his observations about life with the following statement. Ecclesiastes 12 "13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." The writer of Hebrews stated in this manner, his agreement with Solomon about judgment, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Until it is accepted that everything else in this material world without a surrender of the heart to God is utter emptiness, there is great reason to fear the end of physical life.


K - SOMETIMES THE DISCIPLES OF THE LORD FEARED HIM

Mark 4 "36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say to him, Master, care you not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said to them, Why are you so fearful? how is it that you have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

COMMENTS: After the twelve had been called by Jesus, the event described in Mark chapter 4 shows that they had not yet fully grasped the truth that Jesus is God, but his ability to immediately calm the storm by his command, terrified them. They must have begun to realize he was either a select prophet of God, or God in the flesh. The prophetic word from the Psalms now has special meaning for all people from the greatest to the least, because of Christ. Psalm 2 "10 Be wise now therefore, O you kings: be instructed, you judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." Even the rejoicing in serving the LORD comes with an aspect of trembling.


L - THE RECORD FROM THE APOSTLE JOHN

John 14 "15 If you love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you."

1 John 4 "17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us."

Revelation 1 "9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lordís day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What you see, write in a book, and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia; to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea. 12 And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the middle of the seven candlesticks one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shines in his strength. 17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand on me, saying to me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."

COMMENTS: Jesus said if you love me, keep my commandments. Then, when he ascended to the Father after his resurrection, he sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within his apostles, an subsequently he has done the same since that time, for all those who trust in their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. We need to demonstrate our love by yielding to the Holy Spirit within to enable us to keep his commandments. the apostle John also wrote that perfect love casts out all fear, and we might look to John as one to model after in our lives to see that perfect love at work. However, according to the record in Revelation, John fell as if dead ,at the sight of the glorified Christ while on Patmos island. It was necessary for him to be strengthened much in the same way as was done for Daniel of the Old Testament, and told not to be afraid. As long as we are in our mortal bodies with the sin of Adam, we may not be adequately prepared to see the Living God without an element of fear and awe. But all those who belong to Christ will be changed! 1 Corinthians 15 "49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."


--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Who can fathom the depths of your knowledge My Lord? It is without question that it is altogether too wonderful and is far beyond my comprehension. There seems to be a balance needed between true fear and responsive respect and incomparable esteem for a Holy God, and I need every measure of your enablement to hold me on the right path between the two. The various examples from scripture give me much to contemplate as I think about personally seeking that balance because of your sacrifice for my soul. If the authority of man turns to dangerous persecution of me as a Christian, grant me the strength to fear you more than man. I know Lord that you are absolutely righteous and just, full of mercy and compassion. But I also know that you require obedience from those who have been given your Holy Spirit by grace through faith. Help me Lord to diligently search your word to be better equipped to serve you with my whole heart. I want to accept even difficult trials in my life with the knowledge that your perfect love will cast out any fear I might have of your final judgment. I believe that the blood of Christ has covered my sin, but I am so prone to wander away from your truth under the influence of the world around me, needing to confess to you when I stray. I know that I have the victory through you, my Lord Jesus Christ, and I want to show that I am confident that my labor is not in vain in the Lord. Therefore, I place my trust only in your Holy Spirit to keep me steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, with all honor and glory to my precious Savior! Amen.

Published 24 March 2013