Summary: Sermon focuses on why we do not fear God enough to be obedient.
The Fear of The Lord
Last week my message focused on why we should be doing our jobs because God is not coming down from heaven to do it for us. In last week’s message I also mentioned “WWJD” and how although we may consider what Jesus would do, we oftentimes do not follow suit. In the close of the message I shared with you what I thought our reason is for not doing what we are supposed to do. I think we do not do what we are supposed to do, not only as it pertains to sin, but also as it pertains to what God has given us authority to do is because we do not FEAR the Lord. One of my definitions of fear is “False Expectations Appearing Real.” When you think about what happens when we are “fearing” something, a lot of the times what we are in fear of does not happen, hence the “False Expectations Appearing Real.” This is not the definition I like when thinking of the fear we should have of God. That fear is more closely aligned to respect because you believe that He will do exactly what He said He would and therefore your actions are governed by this belief. So when thinking of fear as it pertains to God, I like this definition “My Father’s Expectation Are Real.” The expectations that God has of me and you are very real and therefore it is coupled with an understanding of the consequences of ignoring His expectations (or choosing not to meet them.) A lot of people see fear as a negative thing, but in reference to God, it is very, very positive.
Let me give you a few everyday example of fear that is positive. When you are on your job there are certain things that you do not do because you “fear” losing the job. So you show up for work as scheduled and you perform your duties so that you can remain employed. Even if you do not like your job you do it because you fear losing the job. Another case in point is where a spouse is being physically abused by the other spouse. In one situation, the abused spouse got tired of the abuse and pulled a gun. This spouse pointed the gun and told the other spouse, if they ever laid a hand on them again, they’d be dead. The spouse doing the abuse believed their spouse and immediately stopped for fear of their life. Now consider this, the desire to abuse did not leave the spouse, but the spouse held it in check because of the fear of being killed. Consider this example. You’re in your kitchen cooking and you get ready to take something out of the oven. What do you do? If the oven is hot, you get a towel or something to be used to protect your hands from being burned. You could take the food out of the oven without the use of a towel, but you’d suffer the consequences of being burned. So the fear of being burned makes you protect your hands when you remove something hot from the stove. In each of these situations, an individual’s behavior was changed because of the fear they had of the consequences. The consequences were so real that the person refused to act in a way to bring those consequences into reality. This is what I am talking about when I speak of our Fear of the Lord.
Let me share a couple of Scriptures that also illustrate the above examples. Turn to Exodus 1:15-17, 21.
The king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah, and the other was named Puah; and he said, ‘When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.’ But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live…..And it came about because the midwives feared God, that He established households for them.” (Exodus 1:15-17; 21) In this reference, we have a situation where the Hebrew midwives were give explicit orders to kill all of the male babies born to the Hebrew women. The King ordered this in an attempt to reduce the number of men that could eventually grow up and go to war against him. This would also allow him to reduce the number of children born in future generations. However, because these women feared God, they did not do what the king had ordered. If the king had known, these women would have been put to death so in essence they feared God more than death. Have you ever thought about what would have happened if they feared the king more? Moses would have been killed as a baby and the Children of Israel would have been in Egypt a lot longer. In return for their fear of him, God established households for them. There are benefits to walking in the fear of the Lord. Let’s look at another example.