Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fear of the Lord

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… (Proverbs 9:10)

My brethren, our God is a holy God! He is the Creator and possessor of heaven and earth; He indeed is a great King, and worthy of all honor and reverential fear (Malachi 1:14).

So what does this mean for us, His people? First of all, God is very interested in how we respond to holy things. In basic terms, holy simply means “special,” or “set apart,” by God, for Himself, and for His own personal use and purpose. God is jealous over these things, and will protect them expeditiously, first with mercy, and then with judgment.

“But God is a God of love!” you might say. “We are living under the New Testament now!” Yes, these are statements of truth, God is a God of love, but He is also a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He is jealous of the things that He calls His own. He is Jealous over His people (Hebrews 3:1, Mark 9:42); He is jealous over the institutions that He has ordained, such as the marriage bed, and the marriage arrangement that He has designed from the beginning (Hebrews 13:4, Genesis 2:21-24). He is jealous over His calling upon our lives, and the gifts and talents that He has deposited within us (II Timothy 1:9, Matthew 25:14-30).

In the Old Testament, there is the story of Cain and Abel, and we can see that Abel understood and respected what was holy, but Cain did not. Cain and Abel both brought an offering unto the Lord, and God accepted Abel’s offering, but rejected Cain's (Genesis 4:3-5). Why? Because Abel understood the awesomeness of God, and that the tithe and the offering were a holy thing, and he mixed his giving with faith, coupled with holy fear. But Cain, on the other hand, brought his offering out of necessity; to him it was simply a chore, and a grievous one at that.

God's attitude toward holy things has not changed since the days of the Old Testament, for He is the same "yesterday, today and forever," and He never changes (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8). The only thing that has changed since the Old Testament is the covenant, not the nature of God (Romans 5:9).

When Jesus, in the New Testament, walked into the temple and discovered how it had been desecrated by covetousness and greed, he responded swiftly and decisively, and He drove them out. He was consumed with the zeal of His Father’s house, because the temple, which was holy, had been turned into a common marketplace (John 2:13-17).

God is jealous today, for His church and for His people. He is jealous for His glory and for His name; He is jealous for us, and that His will be fulfilled in our lives!