I’ve heard and read repeatedly over the years I’m supposed to have the fear of God, but no sermon nor book has ever told me how I could get it. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom*, but what is it? I know what it isn’t that’s for sure, because I’ve wondered sometimes upon observing the actions of others, ‘Have they no fear of God?’ *Proverbs 1:7, 9:10
This series is about that ‘reverential respect’ or ‘fear of the Lord’ and why the body of Christ and society has no concept of the sacred, no fear of God, no respect for things ranging from the life of the unborn to the life of someone they don’t agree with politically or doctrinally, and how one might acquire a ‘fear of God’.
The Lord appeared to Solomon two times, documented in I Kings 3:5-15 and 9:2-9. In the first visitation the Lord asked him what he wanted, and he asked for “…an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil…” The Lord granted his request for wisdom conditional upon Solomon walking with Him.
The second time He appeared to him was after the dedication of the temple, for the purpose of establishing a covenant to confirm someone from David’s family would always be on the throne of Israel, as long as he walked with the Lord.
But Solomon didn’t follow the Lord, chapter 11:6 stating: “And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow after the Lord as did David his father.” Verse 9 continues: “And the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.”
Accountability is the result of revelation
Notice the accountability expected of Solomon. The Lord was angry because He had appeared to him twice, yet it made no impact on Solomon’s behavior. He went ahead and sacrificed to other gods among other sins.
Seeing the Lord two times was a revelation that was to have brought a sense of accountability and responsibility coupled with a reverential fear of God – He was the one after all, who wrote Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10 about the fear of the Lord. But Solomon turned his back on the revelations, and did not hold them as sacred and something to which he felt accountable.
Solomon therefore felt no fear of God when he sacrificed to other gods. Not holding revelation personal in the heart nor letting it impact one’s life, leads to a calloused heart indifferent to the things of God.
A revelation OF God changes lives – if we let it
A revelation in the heart changed Peter’s life in Matthew 16:16-17 when he proclaimed, “You are the Christ! The Son of the Living God!” Jesus said it was the Father who showed him that fact. In truth, the Father showed each of us Jesus is the Christ, and we responded.
What was the process by which Peter received that revelation? The text says the people were talking about who Jesus might be – maybe Elijah, Jeremiah, or another prophet back from the dead? Peter heard all the speculation, he thought through it in his mind, and down in his heart the Father by His Spirit showed him that Jesus was His Son. The same thing happened to you and I – the Father showed us Jesus, and we responded as we considered all the other ‘voices’ and opinions out there.
Just 2 chapters earlier*
Jesus had come walking on the water to them saying (in the Greek) “Take courage. I AM. Now stop being afraid!” to which Peter replied, “Lord, if you are (the I AM), command me to come to you on the water!” *Matthew 14:27, Exodus 3:14 Amplified Version
That experience in chapter 14 most certainly contributed to Peter’s revelation in chapter 16: You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!
So we see revelation came by experiencing God personally, and then thinking through that – personally.
In Mark 6:51-52 when Jesus gets into the boat after He and Peter walked on the water back to it, and the wind and waves calmed, it says “And they were astonished exceedingly beyond measure. For they failed to consider or understand the teaching and meaning of the miracles of the loaves; in fact their hearts had grown callous had become dull and had lost the power of understanding.” Amplified Version
Each disciple had a pesonal revelation of Jesus with the multiplying of the food, and even took part in it as He used each of them to distribute the food – yet not a one stopped to consider what they had experienced – thus they were astonished above measure when He walked on water.
But think about this – they were evidently expected to have considered the food multiplied in the short time between sundown when they got into the boat, and 3-6:00 AM as they’d rowed all night, when Jesus came walking on the water to them – for if they had the verse says, they would not have been astonished nor would their hearts have become callous.
We live in a busy world, yet God’s expectation for us to stop immediately and consider the revelations we’ve received, to consider the miracles we’ve experienced, remains the same.
Take time to consider Him. Nurture solitude. Be still and know that He is God.
Revelation from God is first personal, not congregational
Each case of a revelation of God leading to a fear/respect of God in scripture involves revelation on a personal basis, not a massive congregational basis. Holding the fear of God in our hearts is personal – that reverential fear that God is God and we will give account of ourselves one day.
Any auditorium church service, home gathering, or even a meeting with a friend to pray and worship, is to flow from a deeper and more personal one on one walk with God we have. “Church” shouldn’t be where we go to get revelation; That comes on a day to day basis as we walk with Him. “Church” is merely a part of our lives that only compliments and is peripheral to our personal walk and revelation with Him.
As a result of Christians lacking true revelation that only comes from being with Him, they have deluded themselves into thinking going to a ‘good worship service’ or a ‘good teaching’ is experiencing God. Most have no clue what truly experiencing God is like. Like trying to see details through a fog, they know He is out there, but most refuse to take the time and press through and learn for themselves at home how to come into His presence just one on one, them and Him.
A congregation can bring His presence felt corporately, but revelation must flow from the congregational level to a personal level for any life changing effect. A ‘good teaching’ can resonate and cause excitement in a person’s spirit as they listen, and thousands can keep notes of new things seen in the Word, but unless each individual applies that revelation personally, they will remain unchanged.
BUT: Having a revelation OF God not FROM God is what changes lives.
A play list of great worship songs means nothing if you don’t first worship God in your heart without any accompaniment. Notebooks full of teachings means nothing if you don’t first apply what He has dealt with you about in your heart just between Him and you, first.
The fear of the Lord – that reverential respect for God – begins with personal revelation. But not just revelation, the effort to let that revelation sink into our hearts to become part of our lives through application of the revelations.
Next week, Chris and ‘the girl’. Until then, blessings,