“Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (Rev. 14: 7)
Fear God! This is an imperative which we can ignore only at eternal peril. Countless times God directed this command to His people as He strove to bring salvation to them.
What is involved in the command, to fear God?
(Deut. 10:12, 13.) “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?”
This command doesn’t mean to be frightened of God, but it does mean to know who God is, to love Him and to obey Him by keeping His commandments. Abraham, a mighty man of God, feared God greatly, when the Lord asked him to take his only son Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice upon the altar. Abraham demonstrated his obedience by doing everything that God required of him.
There are five principles involved in this verse that go a long way in explaining what it means to fear God:
1. To walk in all the ways of God.
2. To love God supremely.
3. To serve the Lord with all our heart and soul.
4. To keep the Commandments of the Lord.
5. To keep His statutes, (His statutes consist of various commands that are not part of the Ten Commandments, but are important in our preparation for the eternal kingdom. Some examples would be; tithing, the laws of health, love for our brothers, - including our enemies.)
The command to fear God suits perfectly the setting of the judgment- hour message. Speaking of this great judgment, God gave descriptions which could not be fittingly put into adequate human language. Nevertheless, twice in Daniel’s prophetic writing, one salient feature of the judgment is emphasized – the examination of the heavenly books of record by which each person’s destiny is decided.
(Daniel 7:9,10) “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”
(Daniel 12:1) “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
God has declared that those whose names are written in one of these books of record are identified by their fear of God.
(Malachi 3:16) “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.”
Clearly, those who receive God’s favour in the judgment possess the essential quality of fear for God. Since this judgment brings each believer before the judgment bar of God when the awesome moment of that believer’s destiny is determined, God’s people need to understand and seek this quality as a most precious gift. Scripture leaves us without the least doubt as to the characteristics of one who truly fears God.
How did God acknowledge Abraham’s obedience?
(Gen. 22:12). “And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”
The Lord acknowledged that Abraham proved that he feared God by obedience and giving all, and not withholding anything. The man who fears God will also respect and observe His precepts. First angel is calling His people to return to Him, because there is lack of respect and obedience to God’s commandments. jhkWe are to fear, (or give reverence) to God, not self! We need to give glory to God, not self. We are to worship God, not self! This message calls us to a deeper spiritual relationship with God, to a life of faith instead of works.
Why does God require us to fear Him?
(Ps. 111:10.) “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever”
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The only way to obtain wisdom is through obedience to God and His commandments. Wisdom comes by knowing the truth, which only comes from God. The difference between knowledge and wisdom is that knowledge is only theory of the mind, and wisdom is knowledge which is applied to one’s life. To be wise, a person has to put the knowledge to practice, because knowledge that is not applied is useless.
What is the whole duty of man?
(Eccl. 12:13.) “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
Solomon here thinks of the recognition of God and obedience to His wise requirements as the supreme objective of life. It is man’s duty, his destiny, to obey God, and in so doing he will find supreme happiness. Our duty on earth is to show forth the character of Christ to the whole world, to lift up the Lamb of God before the whole universe, and as a result draw many to seek the kingdom of God.
God’s loving concern for us in requiring this godly fear is tenderly expressed in the book of Deuteronomy; “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (Deut. 5:29)
The command to fear God is given with a divine love so abundant that we may receive it but not fully comprehend it. Never should the fear of God, with its imperative to obey all of His commands, be presented outside the context of this love.
“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.” (Psalm 103: 13)