Living in the Awe
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Holiness of God

Fear not man


The Godly Man: When God Touches a Man's LifeThe fear of the Lord brings benefits to whole cultures as well as to individuals. We will focus on the individual first. Later on we will note how the fall and rise of cultures are dependent upon how they respond to God. The fear of the Lord, then, is the proper and humble response to God and His commands.

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The fear of God brings good results rather than bad. Those who are scared of the fear of God (they fear the fear of God) should contrast the lives of those who fear God and those who do not. They will quickly see the differences. All through Proverbs, Solomon has contrasted the two kinds of life. Solomon in his early life was greatly impacted at the revelation of God. Even into his later life, these thoughts stayed with him. Note the perspectives of the fear of the Lord from one of the wisest men on earth.

Proverbs 1:7
Ways of those who Fear the LORD

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge

Ways of the foolish

Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil Pride and arrogance and the evil way, And the perverted mouth, I hate.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  
Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
Proverbs14:26 In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge.  
Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death.  
Proverbs 15:16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, Than great treasure and turmoil with it.
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor [comes] humility.
Proverbs 16:6 By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.  
Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD [leads] to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.  
Proverbs 22:4 The reward of humility [and] the fear of the LORD Are riches, honor and life.
Proverbs 23:17 But [live] in the fear of the LORD always.
Do not let your heart envy sinners,
Proverbs 24:21 My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those who are given to change;
Proverbs 29:25 But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted. The fear of man brings a snare,

A good sleep. Extra long life. Riches. Wisdom. Confidence. Do these things sound good to you?! Of course. Solomon says they only come from the fear of the Lord. Why is it today, then, that many assert a secular lifestyle is better? Why is it that the fear of the Lord brings so much goodness?

When a people fear God, they listen to what He says. When they listen to what God says, their minds and decisions are influenced by God's own judgment. Maybe we could compare this to having a market insider giving tips to the best investment. Because an insider knows what is going on behind the scenes, his perspective has advantages over others who depend solely on the charts. He knows, for example, that a company is coming out with a new product or is going to be sold. God is the designer of our lives and wants to bring His insight into our lives. We have abandoned our Creator but if we allow, He is gracious enough to welcome us back and give us this inside 'advice' for our daily lives.

Chart on differences between fear of God and no fear of God.
The fear of the Lord keeps us humble and listening. We dread His displeasure and the fear of the consequences of disobeying Him. When we fear God, we know He can and will carry out this chastisement. This keeps us alert to what He wants and how He wants it done. Without regularly meeting God, however, this fear can wear off. We can begin to forget what we learned and had agreed upon. When this occurs, we begin to make confident decisions based more on our impulses than what is right and good. Those bad decisions will produce horrible consequences in our lives.

A Big Difference

If a person fears the Lord, he might not know why sleeping with his girlfriend is wrong. However, since he knows God does not like it and forbids fornication, he waits until marriage. Without this fear, fornication bears forth its harsh consequences in poor guy-girl relationships, confusion over marriage, intense guilt, despising good standards, child born out of wedlock or disease. Both spiritual and physical poverty occur.

God knows that only when man is restrained from evil will his fullest potential be developed. Man needs to be limited in certain areas so that he will be protected from harm and plain old ignorance. The fear of the LORD heightens our awareness of the necessity of being observant of His rules. A recent incident illustrates this to us.

An airport worker was not very attentive to the rules and as a result got too close to a plane's propellor. He was hacked to death. Greater fear of the consequences of breaking these rules would have led to more caution. This fear would have preserved his life so that he could do what he was supposed to do. Now he is gone. His colleagues' 'fear' for the power of the rules is now heightened and gives them that necessary caution to benefit their lives. It is a shame that a man's life had to be taken because of carelessness.

Our fear is of the Lord Himself and not His laws. Once we step away from the fear of Him, then the Laws become important because of tradition. The Pharisees and Sadducees had this very problem. They got around 'breaking' the Law by careful arguments and procedures. However, if we obey because He is the keeper of the Laws, then we need to be much more careful. He knows when our hearts are not cheerfully doing His laws and cutting corners. Fearing the LORD Himself holds us personally accountable. We see this in the Psalmist's words.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
(Psalm 139:23-24)

We have many people that state the cultivation of fear is wrong or even harmful. We will discuss this soon. But first, we need to address how the fear of the LORD benefits a society. (Next page)

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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

By Paul J. Bucknell