Steve Ellison: What to Fear? What to Fear?

Thursday, June 25, 2020 - by Steve Ellison

So many people these days are afraid.  Yes, it seems there is much of which to be afraid.  This fallen and cursed world offers much that can hurt you.  Earthquakes, tornadoes, pestilence, anarchists, famine, wild animals, thieves, floods, etc. can all inflict much damage.  Does it do any good to fear those things?  It might, if it causes you to be careful and prepare.  However, no matter what one does, there is no guarantee of protection.  The Bible says more than once that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, thus fearing the Lord is a good thing.

However, I see very few people who actually seem to fear the Lord. The behavior of most people indicates that they do not even consider God, much less fear Him.  2 Chronicles 19:7 is the first mention of “the fear of the Lord” and a warning against crooked judges, “Now then let the fear of the Lord be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the Lord our God will have no part in unrighteousness or partiality or the taking of a bribe.” (NASU)  Being unrighteous gives one the very real motivation to fear the Lord.

Proverbs 2:5 tells us that if we fear the Lord, we will come to know him.  Proverbs 8:13 says that the fear of the Lord is the same as hating evil.  Proverbs 10:27 claims that the fear of the Lord prolongs life and Proverbs 14:27 says that the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life. Proverbs 15:16 tells us that if one fears the Lord, he is better off with scant provisions than is the one who has much and yet does not fear the Lord. Proverbs 22:4 says that the reward of humility and fear of the Lord are riches, honor, and life.  Proverbs 23:17 indicates that living in the fear of the Lord will prevent us from envying sinners. Acts 9:31 states that the Church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria was moving forward in the fear of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:11 indicates that knowing the fear of the Lord will motivate believers to evangelize the lost.  Certainly, the Church needs to return to a fear of the Lord.

Perhaps the most sobering reference to fearing the Lord is found in Matthew 10.  Jesus was giving instructions to His disciples as He was sending them out into the world to make new disciples. Jesus warned them that they would face opposition and persecution.  He told them, they would be hated, called sons of the Devil,  and perhaps killed.  Jesus then told them not to fear those who persecuted them because it would help conform them to His likeness. Then He made this sober statement in verses 28-33, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (NASU) 

We should be very careful regarding who we fear.  Jesus said it plainly.  Men can only inflict temporary harm.  God controls your eternity.  There is a choice to be made.  Will you confess Christ in front of men and God the Father?  Or will you deny Christ in front of men?  Jesus plainly stated the certain outcomes.



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