Fear God and Live

Fear WisdomWhat truth we know is from God; some directly via written form and other via individual revelation.  Other information, mostly erroneous or out right untruths abound from suggestions of the enemy and imaginations of men.  Truth is not time sensitive as current thinking claims and asserts, based on changes in fashion and various so-called technologies that are often mere mechanizations.  For example, the Greek temples were constructed to seemingly require elaborate calculations of proportionate geometry, that was thought to be unknown at the time, however, the Greeks used measuring devices to create a building that looked square, although it was actually constructed on angles and with degrees of curvature to trick the eye into seeing it as square and plumb.  The myth is that new is better and old is wrong and antiquated.  Education today is a testimony of the fallacy of such thinking when compared with the education provided to the same age students seventy-five years ago.  No, they knew nothing of computers, calculators, or various gadgets and machinery of today, but they possessed extensive knowledge of language, history, literature, fundamental applied math and science, that far exceeds that of today’s classroom.  Nevertheless, it is not knowledge that serves society, but wisdom and that applied.

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.  A fool says in his heart there is no God. There are two groups of people, those who fear God (meaning awe and respect, but also trepidation, fright and alarm) and those who do not.  There is great hope and a future for the former and only wrath in store for the latter, unless or until there is an event that brings about change in one’s heart.  When life has ended and souls are brought before the judgment seat of Messiah these groups will be distinguished in great detail and specificity.  Yeshua, (Jesus’ Hebrew name), told two stories that shed light on these groupings.  One was of the judgment where those who thought themselves to be very good people asked, When did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick or in prison and did not help you?  Those who stood in fear of God and held a humble view of themselves, asked a similar question in the negative.  The reply of the Lord was the same, In as much as you did not (or did) do it to the least of these, you did it unto me. (Matthew 25:31-46).

So, we see that there is a group of people who are proud and arrogant in their estimation of themselves and another group holding a different self view.  This difference is illustrated in the next story of two men praying to God, the first a religious leader said, “Thank you that I am not like other people-robbers, evildoers, adulters – or even like this tax collector, I fast twice a week and I give a tenth of all I receive.”  The other a despised tax collector beat his breast and prayed, “God have mercy on me, a sinner.”  We are told that the tax collectors prayer was heard and he was justified before God while the religious leader was not.  Luke 18:10-14

The Bible teaches us that we are all broken human beings, subject to all sorts of wickedness which proceed from our natural selves.  This is a fact that is in continual dispute and argument between these two groups of people – the inherent state of mankind – are people intrinsically good or flawed and broken.  In his book, The Truth You Know You Know, Ken Ridehout, who was a missionary to south-east Asia for almost his entire adult life, explains that people who have never heard of the Bible or much less western Christian values, understand the nature of good and evil inherently.  He would ask the Buddhist or Hindu or Animist, “Is it good or right for me to kill your children or abuse your wife?” Always the answer was, No, then he would say how did you learn this, and they would admit that it was instinct inherent knowledge.  That he said, was the truth that God had put into each man, the knowledge of Good and Evil.  This opens the door to the existence of God, along with the creation itself, although an unending supply of fake or irrelevant facts continue to spew forth in support of evolution, this inherent knowledge of good and evil is irrefutable evidence of a higher power and distinguishes mankind from the animals.  So, acknowledging our human condition – where can consolation be found – in no other place than Messiah Yeshua.

God, who is the author of our faith, is the initiator of our redemption, salvation and reconciliation.  When the fear of God begins its work leading us to wisdom and knowledge of the Almighty, we are confronted with the Light of the Good news of Yeshua’s substitutionary death on our behalf, and as the old hymn recounts, “At the cross and at the cross where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolled away….”.  The timeless, Pilgrims Progress, depicts this same progression of the Pilgrim, “Christian”, realizing he was dwelling in the City of Destruction and fear lead him out, carrying his ponderous burden of sin, until he reached the cross and it rolled away, freeing him to continue his journey on the path to the Celestial city.  Thus we see God using fear to move and lead us to faith.  John Bunyan knew this in 1678.

In these days of upheaval and dismay, of disaster and uncertainty, of an apparent increase in wickedness across the spectrum of societal spheres, evidenced with a proliferation of apocalyptic movies and books originating from the secular producers, it seems that there is more cause to fear than ever, yet, fear alone is of no value or virtue.  Fear of God leads to life.  Fear God and run to the one and only source of Hope.  No other religion offers salvation freely to all who come and submit and surrender to the one and only true and loving God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of the Bible.  Wrath awaits those who see themselves as good and inherently capable of creating a good society and a good world.  They are deceived and on the path to destruction.  God even shows them His kindness in forbearing with great patience their stubbornness and refusal to believe all that He has said and revealed to this day.

Jonathan Edwards great sermon inaccurately entitled Sinners in the Hand of and Angry God, states in conclusion, God seems now to be hastily gathering in his elect in all parts of the land; and probably the greater part of adult persons that ever shall be saved, will be brought in now in a little time, and that it will be as it was on the great out-pouring of the Spirit upon the Jews in the apostles’ days; the election will obtain, and the rest will be blinded.  If this should be the case with you, you will eternally curse this day, and will curse the day that ever you was born, to see such a season of the pouring out of God’s Spirit, and will wish that you had died and gone to hell before you had seen it… Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come.

Jonathan Edwards sermon was effective and it was part of God’s sovereign mercy in the Great American Revival which began in 1741.  May God be so merciful in our day and our country to continue to send His Holy Spirit Revival that awakens the fear of God to open blinded eyes and deaf ears to see and hear the Good news of Yeshua Messiah.  2 Chronicles 7:14 is our charge, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  Those captives of the World, held in bondage by the enemy, their leader, may yet escape by Gods deliverance in the day of salvation.

God has sent numerous revivals to America and other nations by His Sovereign mercy and compassion. I was included in the Jesus Movement Revival of the early 1970’s and I have seen that God is Rich in Mercy Eph. 2:4.  We have every reason to Hope in God and rely on His goodness and loving-kindness to hear prayer and call on His name to fulfill His purposes in Isaiah 61:1-7 and 62:6-12, and many other scriptures.  We have nothing in ourselves to boast, as we were all sinners, and understand well the brokenness of our fallen nature.  But we are now fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Eph. 2:19-22.

 

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