The blessing of holy fear

By Al Earley - A Religious Point of View

Perhaps you had a late night when you were on a date, and found yourself on lover’s lane. There is kissing, and maybe touching. You wonder how far this is going to go. What was your greatest fear?

Most people would say it was getting caught. What if someone recognized the car you were in? What if blue lights started flashing? What if someone you knew, like your dad, showed up to shine a light in the car and see what was going on? What does God think?

That last question may not have been one that you thought about. It should have been the most important question, but it probably wasn’t. Most people are far more concerned with what other people think than what God thinks. Over the last month we have called it the fear of the Lord, and being more concerned about fearing God needs to be much more important to us than fearing other people.

Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, was chosen for this amazing task because God knew he was more concerned about what God thought. When he first found out that Mary was pregnant with a child that was not his he wanted to be faithful to the law, but we are told he, “did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1:19). He could have had her stoned to death for adultery.

When the angel came to him in a dream he did what God called him to do regardless of what people might think. When the census was announced he protected Mary by taking her with him to Bethlehem. She did not need to go to be counted, and I’m sure neither of them relished an eighty-mile donkey ride for Mary while she was over eight months pregnant.

There were plenty of people Joseph could have been afraid of, but his faith guided him to be afraid of the Lord more than anything else and that opened the doors for God to use him in miraculous ways. The Bible is consistent in teaching the importance of having a healthy fear of God. In his book, The Fear of the Lord author John Bevere states that he recorded over fifty pages of scriptures that talk about how God will bless us when we approach him with this healthy awe and reverence. I want to share a few scriptures and many scripture references in an attempt to overwhelm you with the importance of this truth of scripture.

In Hebrews 5:7 Paul tells us how Jesus approached his Heavenly Father to position his heart and our hearts to receive answers, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”

Other examples include the assurance that God’s great goodness abounds (Psalm 31:19), the promise of angelic and divine protection (Psalm 34:7, Psalm 115:11), receiving God’s provision (Psalm 34:9), and God will fulfill our desires and delivers us from harm (Psalm 145:19). Some more scriptures you can check to see many other gifts from God when we have a healthy fear and reverence for Him include Psalm 33:18, Psalm111:5, Proverbs 14:26-27, Proverbs 15:16, Proverbs 19:23, Proverbs 22:4, Jeremiah 32:40, Exodus 1:21, Psalm 25:12, Psalm 128:1-4, II Samuel 23:3. Notice that many of these were written by King David, the man after the heart of God and King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live. Also, remember this is just a short list of examples.

The Bible talks about how God wants to be our friend and have an intimate relationship with every one of us. How do we have both a fear of the Lord and an intimate relationship with Him? Which do you fear more, what God thinks or what other people think? As we begin a new year what changes do you think God wants you to make that others may not like you to make? Do you worship God the way He wants you to worship Him? Do you help other people? Are you a part of a spiritual family that you can help build up to the glory of God?

The journey of faith is the most important journey of our lives. May your journey of fiath be the most meaningful ever in the year to come.

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By Al Earley

A Religious Point of View

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