Why the Fear of God Is Good for You

Daily Devotional: Day 224 |By Stephen Bilson-Ogoe

“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin’” (Exodus 20:20, NKJV).

Three months into their exodus from Egypt, the Israelites camped at Mount Sinai. There the Lord gave the Ten Commandments, but not without some spectacle. Thunder, flashes of lightning, loud trumpet blasts, thick clouds, fire and smoke were on display, as the Lord manifested His presence. Engulfed by these apocalyptic phenomena, the people feared for their lives. Moses’ response to the people’s cry is captured in today’s opening Scripture. First, Moses calmed them down. Then, he explained to them the reason behind everything that was happening. Here is where we need to pay attention.

According to Moses, “God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before youso that you may not sin.” This was a teaching moment. God revealed a bit of His awesome power to test the Israelites. To what end? That His fear would be before them, so that they would not sin. Here, the Word of God reveals to us something important about the connection between fear of God and sin. Fear of God is an antidote against sin. People sin for lack of fear – fear of God. Whoever does not fear God, does not fear to sin, either.

Fear of God is a necessary virtue. It restrains you from sinning against God or neighbor. Fear of God draws you to God and at the same time, it pulls you away from sin. God wanted to teach the Israelites to understand the importance of fearing God. And once the fear of God took hold of their heart, the result is that they would not sin.

Now, think about this: If it is true (and it is) that fear of God prevents us from sinning, what do you think Satan’s strategy would be? You guessed right!

Satan was the first sinner, and the Bible says whoever sins is of the devil (cf. 1 John 3:8). Therefore, satan needs people to join him in his rebellion against God. His strategy is to eliminate the one thing which keeps people from sinning against God: fear of God. Or, at the very least desensitize people to sin. This is his strategy for the proliferation of sin in the world. He started this campaign long ago in the Garden of Eden. God warned Adam and Eve that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would surely die (Genesis 2:17). This put holy fear in them, and kept them from sin.

When tempted, Eve initially repeated God’s commandment and the consequence for violating it. You can tell from her tone that she feared the consequence of disobeying God. But now, note satan’s reply to Eve: “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). At first, Eve was afraid to die; she wanted to live, so she stayed away from the thing which could kill her – sin. But satan allayed her fears by falsely assuring her, “You will not surely die.” The moment Eve believed satanthe fear of God vanished from her heart. As a result, she became vulnerable, because there was nothing restraining her from going against God’s will. Adam followed his wife. The rest is history . . .

Many people can say they love God, but how many can equally say that they fear God? In the Body of Christ today, the fear of God is seldom mentioned or taught. Some even find the concept incompatible with the grace and love of God. But the truth is, the fear of God did not expire when Jesus died and rose from the dead. The fear of God is so vital that, in fact, God Himself promised, “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me” (Jeremiah 32:40). God shows you His kindness by putting His fear in your heart. In the Bible, love of God and fear of God work in tandem.  One cannot exist without the other. Therefore, whoever loves God will fear Him also; and whoever fears God will love Him. 

Keep the fear of God alive in your heart. It is good for your soul. Let no one deceive you.

Be blessed today, you and your household! Amen.

For further study: Hebrew 12:18-29

Parenting: Some Bible-based Perspectives

Daily Devotional: Day 172

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, AKJV).

Today’s message is addressed, first of all, to parents and guardians; to all who now or in the future will play some form of parental roles; and to anyone who is interested in some Bible-based perspectives on parenting. Proverbs 22:6 assumes that parents know the way the child should go; for you can only lead others on a path with which you are familiar.

Train your child, your way – the Bible way. Give children the knowledge of God. Put the fear of God in them when they’re little. They need it, even if they don’t want it. Train them, not only to love God, but also to fear Him. If anyone loves God, they will fear Him also. If they fear God, it means they love Him. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (cf. Proverbs 9:10). A child who fears God will most likely fear his parents, and vice versa. In Leviticus 19:3, God commands everyone to fear his mother, and his father.

Make time to train your own child. Don’t leave the education of your child to HollywoodDisneyvideo games or the Government. Today’s world is aggressive on all fronts. Even adults are stumbling. Therefore, you can’t afford to leave things to chance and hope that children will magically turn out alright. Children deserve to be adequately prepared to face and overcome the pressures of this world.

Don’t compromise on discipline. God is a Parent and He doesn’t compromise on discipline (cf. Deuteronomy 8:5). Neither should you. Children will test you. If you compromise on discipline once, the game is over. They’ve won. Compromise projects weakness. Children will notice it, and they will use it against you by habitually resisting you. Maintain your integrity and authority as a parent. Care for children, love them, protect them, provide for them; but be firm. Love your child, but don’t let your love cloud your judgment.

An undisciplined child is a danger to himself and others; but a disciplined child is an inspiration. Don’t just talk about discipline; enforce discipline. The most valuable thing you can bequeath to your children is neither a house, nor money, nor a car; but rather, godly discipline. Open their eyes to the lies and deceptions of this world. Show them the truths they need to be successful. Successful parenting is a catalyst for a sound Church and a healthy society.

Fear not. Being a parent is an honor. It gives you the opportunity to raise another human being. This makes you a Minister of God. In churches, there’s a ministry for nearly everything: children’s ministry, choreography, music ministry, youth ministry, women’s ministry, men’s ministry, singles’ ministry, etc. But parenting as a ministry is often overlooked. Parenting is a divine calling and a ministry. If you do it well, our heavenly Father will greatly reward you.

True, this world doesn’t make it easy to be a parent, but with God you can do all things. And, He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Have courage. Be loving. Be fearless. Be the parent God ordained you to be.

May the Lord remember your labor of love and greatly bless you. Amen.

For further study: Hebrews 12:1-13

 

The Way of the Righteous

Daily Devotional: Day 105

“Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments” (Psalm 112:1, KJV).”

Many are the afflictions of the righteous (cf. Psalm 34:19). But many also are the blessings and rewards of the righteous. Today’s Bible text tells us that blessed is the man who fears the Lord. The Bible is referring to a godly person, one who trembles at the majesty and holiness of God, and recognizes his need to submit to this God and serve Him. The fear of God, according to the Bible, is the beginning of wisdom. In fact, where there is no fear of God, folly reigns in people’s hearts. Soon, they will declare that God does not exist (cf. Psalm 14:1).

A person who fears God manifests several characteristics. One of these characteristics is that he is careful to avoid sinning against his God or violating His commandments. This diligence is based on the person’s reverence and deep love for God. And if the godly person sins (cf. 1 John 2:1-2), he will not hesitate to repent and return to serving the Lord in holiness.

Another characteristic of a righteous person is that he delights greatly in the commandments of God. That is true. If we love God, we will delight greatly in His commandments. For we cannot separate love for God from love for what He commands. If we find the commandments of God repulsive or burdensome, that is an indication that our love for God is questionable. Jesus Himself said, “If ye [you] love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

There is great reward for fearing the Lord and delighting in His commandments. Today’s text, Psalm 112, lists at least eleven (11) blessings for walking in the way of righteousness.

Answer your calling today. Go out and walk in the way of the righteous: in your family, your friendships, your workplace, your school, your local church, or even when you are alone. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Prayer:

Holy Father, you are All-Holy. I am in awe of you. Who am I that you should call me your child? Yet you have lavished your love on me. I bless and thank you for your great love for me. Stir up your Spirit in me and enable me to walk in the way of your commandments. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

For further study: Psalm 119:97-112