I read an article recently about a high-profile Christian who had fallen into sin. Someone who was trying to understand what had happened asked him, “When did you stop loving the Lord?”, assuming that this was the reason the person had not resisted the temptations that came his way. The reply was interesting. He said, “I never stopped loving the Lord, but I stopped fearing Him.” Loving God is not enough in our Christian lives – we need to have a holy fear of Him too.
When Moses was going up the mountain to meet with God, there was thunder and lightning, loud trumpet blasts and smoke, and the people trembled with fear at the presence of the Lord. Moses spoke to them and said: “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning” (Exodus 20:20). If we do not have a right fear of the Lord, we may not regard sin with due seriousness, and we may be more inclined to give in to temptation. If we fear Him, we will be very careful not to do anything to displease Him.
I am grateful to have had a close relationship with my human father. I loved him and wanted to be with him as much as I could, but at the same time my brothers and I knew that there would be trouble if we were naughty. We tried to do what was right because we loved him and didn’t want to displease him. This, for me, is a partial picture of the fear of the Lord – love and obedience going hand in hand because of honour and respect.
Today’s verse shows us that as well as keeping us from sin, the fear of the Lord is also the key to the amazing treasure that we have in Jesus Christ – a rich store of salvation, wisdom and knowledge. The same verse states that He is the only sure foundation for our times.
The UK is going through a period of confusion and political turmoil, which is bringing insecurity to many. This is partly because, as a nation, we have not been living in the fear of the Lord. We have turned our backs on Him and on many of His laws. The only answer is to turn back to the sure foundation, which is Jesus, and to seek His rich store of salvation, wisdom and knowledge. The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure, and God promises to teach us what this means: “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD” (Psalm 34:11).
Prayer: Lord, I am sorry that I have not been living with a right fear of You. Please teach me what it means to truly love and fear You at the same time. Please bring our nation back to a knowledge of You and of the fear of the Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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