I googled the words, "Fear the Lord" and found a sermon on the subject. I actually found several things on the subject. I looked the word "fear" up in the concordance of my bible and thought about several of the verses there. Lots of stuff in Deuteronomy.... that's a book that's all about the nation of Israel and them learning the Law and it's really dogmatic. Truly, at that point in biblical history, people had a fear of the Lord... if you realize all that they had to do to have a promise of eternal life, you realize they lived in fear. (and I suspect in a constant state of discouragement because NOBODY could keep the Law, which is why we needed a Savior... but that's a different topic.). There are verses in Joshua, 1 & 2 Samuel, Job, Psalms... and then we get to Proverbs - the book of wisdom - and it's chock full of verses about the fear of the Lord... here are a few thoughts for you:
Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Psalm 2:11
Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him. Psalm 33:8
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and he delivers them. Psalm 34:7
Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. Psalm 34:9
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. Psalm 128:1
The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:11
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7
To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Proverbs 8:13
The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. Proverbs 10:27
There are more.... but I'm running out of time this morning... here's the point: we have made God, the creator of the universe, the one who holds the planets in place, the one who controls every breath we take... we have turned Him into a warm, fuzzy, cuddly creature who we can entertain at our leisure. We ignore Him, we ignore His commands, until such time as we need him.
I have this problem with Austin. He won't do his chores until he faces a consequence for not doing them. I can talk until I'm blue in the face. I can yell, scream, beg, cry... nothing works. But when I take the remote control away from him, he becomes very obedient. The problem? He doesn't fear me. He loves me. He appreciates me on some levels. He wouldn't want to live without me. He doesn't WANT me to be angry. He just wants me to be in my "mommy box"... provide for him and not expect anything in return. That's how we view God. And by we, I mean me... and maybe you, I don't know. Maybe you see yourself in this.
What has happened in Christianity since the feel-good sixties - is a turning from the hellfire and brimstone preaching that taught people to fear God.... to respect who He is. We have tried to make God politically correct. We have tried to appease man and not offend anyone by speaking what God really says. We complete our Sunday morning obligatory church service (or not) and we do our little cursory bible study and prayer every day (or not) but we don't fear Him. We don't worry that we are not obedient. We don't worry about the fact that He is displeased with our actions. We don't worry that when we claim to be a Christian and then act like the devil, that we are preventing people from approaching Him - because they don't want to be near us or like us.
My goal for 2009 is to respect God... to acknowledge God.... to appreciate who God really is... I want to fear God.