Fear God and Give Him Glory

Revelation 14:7—“Fear God and give Him glory because the hour of His judgment has come.”

In the original Greek the text may read, “begin to fear, give glory to, and worship God.” What this points out is that those who hear during this time have not yet heeded God’s call for reverence. They have paid no respect to God. They were insensitive to His Word. They failed to honor Him.

In the plainest terms, the command to fear God is a call to show reverence to God and to praise Him (Eccl.12:13). To give Him glory is a Hebraic saying that appears in both the Old and New Testaments (Josh.7:19; John 9:24).

To fear God and to give Him glory literally means to tell the truth about God!

The reason given is, “because the hour of His judgment has come.” Time is running out. In fact, it is imminent.

How do we fear God? We do not fear God by…

  1. Getting religion
  2. Giving resources
  3. Gaining knowledge

The fear of God can only be known when it is received by grace from God through faith in Christ as you surrender to Him as Lord (Jer.32:38-41).

Then you will begin to understand what the Psalmist meant when he said…

  • Psalm 111:10“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.”

Then you will grasp what Solomon meant in the book of Proverbs when he said…

  • Proverbs 1:7“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
  • Proverbs 8:13“The fear of the Lord is to hate all evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate.”
  • Proverbs 16:6“By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil.”
  • Proverbs 14:27“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.”

The fear of God is not only received from God through faith in Christ, it is also established as you receive God’s Word personally and apply it daily.

  • Psalm 119:38“Establish Your Word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You.”

Are you getting into God’s word daily? Are you spending time with God in private devotions? Are you submitting your plans, your passions, your pursuits, your heart, your mind, and your will to God according to His Word?

Joy in Fear

“I will put the Fear of God in you”!

-Mom-

If you had a childhood that was anything like mine, you have probably heard one of your parents tell you, “I will put the Fear of God in you!”—a statement that was typically accompanied with a promise (or, in my case, a threat) of physical discipline.

So what comes to your mind when you think about the fear of God? Do you think of fearing God in the same way a person fears heights, or the same way a person fears snakes or scorpions? Or do you think of the fear of God as more like having the feeling of awe when one standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon looking into its vast abyss? To fear the Lord is to be in awe and reverence of the reality of God.

When we consider the theme of fearing God, we see that the Bible has several verses that teach us about the fear of God. We learn that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Prov.1:7; 9:10) and that friendship with the Lord is for those who fear the Him (Ps.25:14). But one verse in particular reveals to us that the Lord actually takes delight and pleasure in us when we fear Him. Psalm 147:10-11 says: His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.”

When we think of the idea of pleasure and delight we often think of it in terms of us, as God’s people, taking pleasure and delight in God because of His goodness and mercy toward us. However, we see that God is actually pleased with us and smiles when we fear Him. Does our fear of God affect or relate to our faith in God? I think it does; at the end of Psalm 147:11 we read that God not only takes pleasure in those who fear Him, but in those who hope in His steadfast love. So to fear and hope in God go hand in hand when it comes to the Lord taking pleasure in us. How do faith and hope relate to each other? Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

When it comes to the biblical meaning of faith and hope, these are not blind leaps into the dark or wishful thinking of a particular outcome. Biblical faith is confidence in the trustworthiness of God, and hope is the most solid possible conviction. I want to encourage God’s people to be a people who takes joy in fearing the Lord because we can have faith that God takes pleasure and delights in those who fear Him and hope in His steadfast love.

 

To Fear or Not to Fear

I spend a fair amount of time advising my boys not to fear things:  outside noises at night, vaccinations, terrorism, etc.  Though the objects of their fear vary, my approach is usually the same. We talk about the sovereignty of God and how He, in His infinite power, controls all things. Because God is good, we can find comfort in His providence and not fear things that might hurt us.  Andy and I can and do provide cuddles, but God is the only One who can relieve them of this type of fear.

Though I spend a fair amount of time talking with the boys about what not to fear, I am far less diligent about discussing Whom they should fear. The Scriptures are filled with references to what we should not fear (man, death, etc.). They are also filled, though, with admonitions to fear God. When I think about the fear of God, my mind first races to our worship song “We Choose the Fear of the Lord” and then to the passage in Proverbs: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov.1:7a).  This passage tells me that, if I desire to be wise, I need to fear God. If I desire to please Him in my role as wife and mother, I need a proper fear of God. I cannot teach the boys this fear without knowing it and living it myself.  But to live with a biblical fear of God, I need to understand what this looks like.

To try to understand how the fear of God is fleshed out, I think about Genesis 22, where God commends Abraham for being willing to sacrifice Isaac, his only son. As Abraham raised his knife to kill Isaac, the angel of the LORD called out to him, and said “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing that you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Gen 22.12). Isaac was Abraham’s promised child, from whom God planned to grow Abraham’s descendants into a nation. Abraham had waited for decades for this child, and he loved him dearly. Yet, he reverenced and trusted God so completely that he was willing to kill this precious child, knowing that God would be faithful to His promises. This is the fear of God: placing His will for my life above my own. It is loving and honoring Him above my comfort, my family, and my own life. I do not fear God as I ought—Lord, please forgive me.

LORD God, You are awesome and mighty and worthy of reverence and honor. Forgive me for often fearing man more than I fear You, and for treasuring my comfort and my family more than I treasure obedience. As I seek to follow You, God, please help me to humble myself so my will is that Your will is done.  Please help me to trust You with my husband and children and to remember that You are always faithful and that You cannot lie. Help me to fear You rather than man and to teach my children about Your majesty and magnificence, about the need to worship You and to pursue You above all else. Please open their eyes and change their hearts so that they might fear You.

The Beginning of Wisdom

I’ll share a little something about myself with you. I don’t like to be afraid. Fear is one emotion that I seek to avoid as much as possible. Take, for example, horror movies. Not a fan. Never have been. I don’t even understand the genre or the people who support it. I’ve never understood why people would spend their hard-earned money to scare themselves. There are plenty of things to be afraid of in the world, why should I pay to conjure up that emotion? Why would I want to?

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. In fact, I know I’m not because the Bible has so much to say about fear. A quick hit using a Bible search engine shows that there are 299 verses with the word “fear” in them and 163 more with the word “afraid” in them. Combined, that’s more verses than the Bible’s other great topic—love. The Bible talks a lot about fear. In fact, did you know that some fear is actually good? Say it ain’t so! The Bible says repeatedly that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps.111:10; Prov.1:7, 9:10).

This fear is not a terror or dread where we fear that God is out to get us, but one mixed with love and respect. Like the kind of fear you probably had for your earthly father. You knew that he wasn’t to be crossed and you respected him. So it is with God, but to an even greater degree since He is perfectly holy.

So if we truly begin to be wise when we start to fear God, how does that relate to our lives? To our conduct? To our finances? Well, when we realize that all that we have is given to us by God and that He has a requirement that we return some of our time, talents, and treasure to Him to support the work of His Church, we should fear withholding anything from Him. He knows all things so He knows if you’re being stingy.

This happened with the nation of Israel and He called them to the carpet for it. He cursed them and called them robbers (Mal.3:8-9). Think about that. God calling you a robber. Men may accuse us of many things and some of their accusations may stick, but when God accuses you of something, you’re caught. There’s no denying it. So rather than rob God and think we’re getting away with something, we should honor Him with the first of our fruits (Lev.2:12). In fact, He invites us to test Him that if we bring Him the whole tithe, He says He will pour out a blessing until it overflows (Mal.3:10). God is challenging us to try to out-give Him! I dare you to try it. As you will quickly learn, it can’t be done.

God’s Cure for Our Anxieties

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7

If anyone had an excuse for anxiety, it was the Apostle Paul. There was disagreement in the church at Philippi that was bringing division within the body and potential division among the believers at Rome (1:14-17). Added to these burdens, he faced the possibility of his own death. Did Paul have an excuse to worry? Yes! But he chose not to. Instead, he takes the time to explain to us the secret of victory over it.

The antidote for worry is the peace of God guarding your mind like a soldier (v.7). If we are to know this peace of God, then we must meet three conditions that God has laid down.

CONDITION #1: RIGHT PRAYING

The word “prayer” is the general word for making requests known to the Lord. It carries with it that idea of adoration, devotion, and worship of the Lord. Whenever we find ourselves worrying, our first action ought to be to get alone with God and to worship Him.

The second step is “supplication.” Supplication is the earnest sharing of our needs and problems. It is not a half-hearted request. It is a plea, a cry! It is what characterized our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Heb.5:7)

After adoration (prayer) and supplication comes appreciation or “thanksgiving.” (Cf. Eph.5:20; Col.3:15-17)

The result of right praying is the peace of God. This does not mean the absence of strife or trouble, but it does mean the addition of protection and power to face the trouble!

CONDITION #2: RIGHT THINKING

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”Philippians 4:8

The short answer of interpreting this verse is that the way to be uplifted is to dwell on uplifting things.

We all know there is real truth to this. Thoughts are real and powerful. And although they cannot be seen, weighed, or measured, they do have a great impact on how we feel and what we do. (Cf. Is.26:3; 2 Cor.10:3-5)

Right thinking is the result of daily meditation on the Word of God. (Ps.119:165)

CONDITION #3: RIGHT LIVING

“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9

When Paul says that right living is a condition for peace, he is saying that is it impossible to separate outward actions and inward attitudes. (Cf. Is.32:17; James 3:17)

This is how we learn to live right: we learn the Word, we receive it, we hear it, and we practice it over and over and over again.

The PROMISEWhen we meet the conditions of right praying, right thinking, and right living, then the promise is…”the God of peace will be with you.”

No Time for Fear

If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles”—Sun Tzu.

Every opponent was always bigger, especially in the final matches for the grand championship. Weight class did not matter to the judges. After all was said and done, only one would claim the prize. He saw the look of fear in my eyes as I was matched with the heavyweight champion, so he pulled me aside. “You’re always going to be small…nothing you can do about that now. Do what you know how to do and use your head. Listen for my voice,” Dad said while stepping back. I entered the ring, faced my opponent, and waited for the ref to yell, “Tatakae (Fight)!”

Anxiety and fear can come from many sources. These emotions can cripple and weigh us down (Proverbs 12:25; Luke 12:22-26).  In some cases, ignoring this built-in defense mechanism is foolish. The very fact that we are afraid of something means that whatever it is—it’s not actually happening yet. Dwelling on hypothetical consequences is contrary to what Scripture teaches (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:6-7; Psalm 55:22-23). In the heat of the battle, we can be confident that we are gifted with a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind, not fear (2 Timothy 1:7). For believers, doing what we know means to replace worry with prayer, take the necessary action that the situation calls for, and to always be listening for our Father’s voice.

Fear: The New Brave

My adult children and I communicate almost daily—via Facebook, Messenger, Snapchat, or text. It’s a daily practice that we’ve developed to keep tabs on each other and to know that everyone is alive and well. With my business travel, my daughter’s various travel nurse assignments, and my son’s work throughout the valley and state, it works for us.  If more than two days pass without any communication, I will often text, “Are you still alive?” This is usually followed by a quick “Yes, Mom…Just busy with work,” and I breathe a silent sigh of relief.

However, nothing can strike fear in my heart as when my phone rings at midnight or later and caller ID shows one of them calling. Good news isn’t usually delivered at that hour. I’m immediately wide awake and ready to rush to wherever they may be. One memorable moment: “Mom, the tornado sirens are going off and we’re taking cover in the basement of our apartment building. I don’t know what’s going on but I’m scared.” It was my daughter, who was more than three hours away from me. I tried calming her as I followed the tornado’s path online and on the Weather Channel. Texting became the best option to stay connected. My heart was racing. And I felt intensely helpless.

Fear has a way of bringing out the part of us that we don’t want seen—helplessness, hurt, rejection, not being in control.  Fear will lie about the truth and tell a different truth that isn’t truth at all:

I’m not good enough.

             I’m not equipped to do that. 

                        She’s so much better than I; more blessed than I.

                                     I can’t…

But God can.

And He will, if we let Him work in us and through us. It’s not about us, anyway. Not our glory. All for His glory. Always and only His glory. With this promise and knowledge, do I still get fearful? Yes! However, I’m reminded of how God told Joshua, not once but three times, to be courageous (Josh.1:6-7, 9) and this gives me comfort. God knows we will become fearful and yet it doesn’t have to be a negative thing or a place we stay. In fact, fear may just be the “new brave” because no brave person has not known fear. In our fear, we find strength we never knew we had. Strength from the One whose strength alone is all we need. In our weakness, He is strong (2 Cor.12:9-11).

Today, my daughter lives about 20 hours away from me, as she works in another country for the next three months. I’m learning and sharing with her that fear can be healthy when we give it to the One who can do something about it. Every time we give our fear to Him, He puts it to rest so we can move forward in His grace and for His glory. Every brave soul has faced fear. The brave just choose to give their fear to Christ, and then rest in His promise to “fear not (Is.35:4).

 

 

Fear and the Taboo

Growing up there were several subjects that were taboo (not acceptable to talk about) in my home and at church.  All I concluded as a kid was that these taboo subjects were “bad.”  No one talked about them, so I was left to my own thought process and what I was taught by the world system.

Deuteronomy 6:7 instructs, “You shall teach them [God’s Word] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Cf. Deut.11:19).

Ephesians 6:4 teaches us, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Genesis 18:19 tells us, “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice.”

Psalm 78:4 reads, “We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.”

With just this brief survey of the Scriptures, why do we allow any topic/issue to paralyze us in fear and anxiety? Why don’t we instruct ourselves with what the Bible says about money, finances, wealth, poverty, charity, debt, responsibility, thanksgiving, and provision? Why do we allow “others” to give their anti-biblical, anti-Christ honoring, anti-God fearing viewpoints to us and our children?

At this time, we as Christians need to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways. Then God will hear from heaven, will forgive our sin, and will heal our land.

Perhaps you are reading this and you are struggling with finances. Perhaps you feel a lack or you’re in the position to be generous to others in need.  May I encourage you to search the Scriptures for several days?  May I encourage you to talk to a few mature Christians who do not stand to profit from any decision you make?  Then I want to encourage you to proceed in faith based upon the correct understanding of God’s Word.  Finally, be ready to teach and explain to your children and others about what you have learned and how you are seeking to honor God.

Divine Guidance

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”—Proverbs 3:5-6

To have “straight paths” or to have your path straightened is an ancient expression that means to have all obstacles removed so that your journey is successful. On the other hand, to walk along straight paths is to be guarded from deviating onto the crooked paths of sinful ways. Here we discover the promise of God for divine guidance.

Why Do We Need Divine Guidance?

There are several facts that force this truth upon us:

  • The complexity of life—the longer we live, the more we see that life is not as simple as it seems.
  • Our ignorance of the future—who knows what a day will bring; yet we must boldly face the next day and plan in advance.
  • The demands of duty—to God, family, employers, etc., which sometimes conflict with one another.
  • The deception of sin—“There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Prov.14:12)

What Conditions Must Be Met Before Divine Guidance Is Given?

  • Self-surrenderThe man who finds divine guidance will be the one who renounces self and places his confidence in and sets his hope (confident expectation of obtaining something good) on the Lord. (Ps.40:17, 25:14, 9:10)
  • Whole-hearted faithTo trust God with all your heart does not mean to perfectly trust God, but to honestly aim every thought, affection, and desire toward Him. To do something with all your heart is to place every ounce of energy into it. This is how we are to direct ourselves toward the Lord in order to find divine guidance.
  • Self-distrustThe admonition here does not mean that we are not to use and improve our own understanding, form plans with discretion, or employ legitimate means in the pursuit of wisdom (counsel, etc.). We are just not to lean upon them. Because of pride, we are more prone and prefer to lean upon our own understanding than the understanding of others. Rather, when we use our understanding to form plans or pursue wisdom, we are not to boast in them but depend upon God and His directing and overruling providence. (Cf. Jer.9:23-24)
  • Seeking His approvalTo acknowledge God means two things: first, to recognize His right to overrule, and second, to ask whether the thing that we are about to do is in accordance with His will. To acknowledge Him is not to ask of every action or situation, “What would a man in my position do?” but to ask, “Is this what the Lord would have me to do?”How does this look?

    1. Referring everything to Him
    2. Consulting Him in our hearts
    3. A
    pplying His will as revealed in His Word
    4. Praying for and expecting His divine direction

We are to think biblically, acknowledge fully, consult wisely, act diligently, and then trust completely in the grace and promise of God.

THE PROMISE: “He will make your paths straight.” How? He does this by His Word, through His providence, by His promptings, and through His people.

 

Why, God?

I used to say I didn’t know why God does some of the things He does.

He allows riches to benefit evil men and violence to fall upon the innocent. He allows a good nation to turn against itself and tear itself up from the inside. He allowed my dad to suffer a stroke and then live on severely disabled for 3,063 days before finally passing away.

hen I’m physically weak or emotionally wrecked, I ask God why He allows these things. The answer is obvious: when God does anything, or allows anything to happen, He does it for my own good and for His own glory. Paul tells the Roman believers (and us) that “…we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

But what I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t ask with the right attitude. I don’t even ask with the voice of one “who loves God.” Instead, I question Him with a discontented, complaining heart. In the question, I have no faith. I don’t want to know why God does what He does. Rather, I want God to explain Himself to me. In the question, I rank myself above God and I put Him on trial. I am the prosecutor; He is the defendant.

Forgive me, Lord. You are the Potter. I am the clay. I must consider:

“You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, that what is made would say to its maker, ‘He did not make me’; or what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding’?” (Isaiah 29:16)

And also:

“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?” (Isaiah 45:9)

And finally:

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

I don’t know how God works the details to meet His own will. And when my heart is in the right place, I don’t need to know. God is good (all the time), and His will is perfect. It is I who am flawed, and the better my eyesight becomes, the deeper I perceive the cracked, sinful condition of my heart.

Instead of hounding a perfect God to explain Himself to a sinful man, I should be fishing faithfully for sinful men to proclaim to them a perfect God.