Have you ever noticed that nothing of this world can permanently satisfy a human heart? The majority of people are in the process of reaching for stability, security, a relationship or even some material thing. With recent natural disasters, health threats, political and social unrest, and the sheer weightiness of it all, there seem to be so many reasons to be disheartened. The Psalmist well stated that in the LORD’s presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). Yet, spiritual warfare is an actuality we all face; there are enemy forces that tempt us to despair. And many encounter physical danger as well.
Understanding the LORD’s intention is for us to walk in victory and enjoy the benefits of our relationship with Him, I have wondered how we can be in this world with its troubles and remain carefree. Some cares seem extremely difficult to cast down. Admittedly, I have had my moments when I allowed my desires and feelings (even negative ones) to reign above the LORD’s desire to bring me into His peace and unity. I have comforted myself knowing that the LORD has emotions. I have had to remind myself that the LORD’s emotions do not negatively impact Him or His unity within the Godhead. He is always all of His attributes at the same time.
- Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14 to 16).
I have had to ask myself why I sometimes resist submitting to His promptings? I must take accountability for my part in this. You see, since God’s grace (His favourable influence on my heart) gives me the power to overcome the old carnal mind, I need to understand why I am willing to enjoy musing with delayed obedience? Having been redeemed and joined to the Divine Godhead through the indwelling Holy Spirit, it is impossible to ignore the LORD’s leading in my heart and continue to abide joyfully without stress because disobedience creates conflict.
These next two statements can seem very challenging. For a believer, anxiety stems from a hesitancy to trust and accept the LORD’s will completely. A failure to do so either has an element of unbelief or idolatry (one’s will reigns above the LORD’s).
The only way to alleviate the anxiety would be to submit, or harden my heart and grieve the Spirit. Hardening your heart should not be your option! Friends, after taking another look at what Scripture teaches concerning the manifest presence of God, I have concluded that I (and perhaps many Christians) would benefit from a better understanding of the fear of the LORD.
God’s grace gives us access to His throne room, and I believe it is our fear of the LORD that invites His manifested intimate presence.
Let me share what I have seen in God’s Word these past few weeks, and you can search the Scripture for yourself to determine whether it is so as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11. My observations are summarized into the following outline points:
- Awareness of Opposition is Critical (why do we need spiritual discernment?);
- Understanding the Manifest Presence of the LORD (what are we are asking for?);
- Desiring the Fear of the LORD (do we need to fear God in the age of grace?);
- The Fear of the LORD Enables Abiding in His Presence.
Point 1: Awareness of Opposition is Critical
Almost anything in this world can be in opposition to our realization of the LORD’s presence. Culture, relationships, politics and current events certainly can negatively influence the atmosphere. During these times, it is too easy for situations to rob us from discerning the LORD’s leading or presence, and we often blame others around us for the adversity. In some cases, there are actual physical or natural opponents.
That said, it is important to remember what the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write to the church. Scripture reminds us that there is a real spiritual battle raging against God and all who pledge allegiance to Him and it manifests emotionally:
- …we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12).
In this day and age, many do not believe in the supernatural as stated in Scripture. Some who profess Jesus Christ as their Savior think these types of Scriptures are simply symbolic. While each person must conclude their personal beliefs, I have difficulty understanding how anyone could rely on faith in Jesus Christ for eternal life with God but disbelieve what He says about the spirit realm. Perhaps this is based on a person’s relationship with the LORD, and the amount of thought applied to Scripture. In every relationship, there is a growing knowledge of the parties involved. I know numerous individuals have grown deeper in faith and devotion than I!
Do you believe there are spiritual forces that fight against God’s purposes? What do you believe about heaven and hell; Jesus; the angels (including the fallen ones like the devil)? How do your beliefs measure up against Scripture? What weight or authority does the Word of God have in your reasoning?
If you do not know what to think, why not investigate these things in Scripture? You cannot know what you do not know. God said in Scripture:
- My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6).
- Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; (Proverbs 23:17).
- The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7).
- “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10).
God will hold a believer responsible for their willingness to learn about Him at the judgement seat of Christ where the motives of all believers will be weighed and purified. Scripture states:
- Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. (2nd Corinthians 5:9 to 11).
- The fear of the LORD leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil. (Proverbs 19:23).
The early church understood there were spiritual forces and natural traps set for believers. They were eye-witnesses to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and understood how He fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. Many beheld the deliverance of the demonic through the authority that is in the Name of Jesus. They observed the power of the Holy Spirit that slew Ananias and Sapphira for testing His grace with lies (Acts 5). This direct knowledge of the LORD and Old Testament Scripture, along with the power of the Holy Spirit, enabled them to face all sorts of trials steadfastly and with joy.
The early believers flourished with “ peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. (Acts 9:31). It seems that through the passing of centuries, belief in the Scripture as the authoritative Word of God has grown dull (as foretold).
- knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2nd Peter 3:3 and 4).
- But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2nd Peter 3:8 and 9).
Jesus said this:
- “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7 and 8).
- And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. “All these are the beginning of sorrows. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. “But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:6 to 13).
When confronted by clouds of gloom and clinging to hope seems futile, anxiety can take hold. Then we can be tempted to question whether God wants to intervene in a particular situation if answers to our prayers seem delayed. Although this may feel like a natural question, it is probably the wrong question because the Word of God informs us that He cares for us and will act on behalf of those who wait for Him. It is written:
- Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1st Peter 5:7 to 10, New International Version).
Our precious Saviour was confronted with imminent peril and yielded Himself totally to His Father’s will; all the while, His emotions experienced the gravity of humanity’s sin and promised death on the tree. In the garden of Gethsemane, He told His disciples:
- … “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:38 and 39);
- And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:44).
David, who faced many battles and trials, declared the LORD was his fortress amid adversity in Psalm 31. In verse 19 of this Psalm, we have an important insight:
- Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!
When our LORD said: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24 ), it is clear that entering in will require contending with adversaries that oppose the goal.
Many might think they could remain calm and persevere if they experienced some sort of manifestation of the LORD. The truth is the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence is more than sufficient to sustain us through anything if we yield to His guidance and believe the Word. He will always testify about Jesus and guide us to pray and obey. Jesus said:
- “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. (John 15:26).
So how do we experience that peace, or that joy, that hope, that manifest presence? I believe the answer is developing the fear of the LORD. If abiding in Him is our desire and our highest priority, the LORD will manifest Himself to us in intimate ways that produce the fruit our hearts long for (even during some very challenging times).
- …the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… (Galatians 5:22 and 23).
One of God’s attributes is that He is omnipresent. All by itself, this is absolutely awesome and difficult for a human being to understand. Perhaps this is partly why we often forget He is with us and all around us. But friends, there is so much more than recognizing His greatness in the universe; more than simply perceiving His acts towards humanity. There is so much more than a worship service experience where His glory is partly perceived!
Our LORD desires to have an intimate relationship with us individually. What could be more satisfying than having the source of all life, love and power ignite our souls and fulfill the desires He created humans to have? As our designer, He knows how to meet our every need! He not only is the only One who can; He wants us to look to Him full-heartedly for fulfillment in Him.
- “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:31 to 34).
Our heavenly Father who is hallowed (set apart, holy, and perfectly pure) knows what we need and will provide when we seek our King’s righteousness as the priority. We must vigorously resist opposing forces that distract us from acknowledging Him. We acknowledge Him by seeking Him in His Word and through prayer in our daily lives and not just in a corporate worship setting. He wants intimacy, but He will not force it.
- “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. “Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ (Acts 17:24 to 28).
We also long for this same intimacy but we do not always readily identify the opposition. Scripture plainly states in both Old and New Testaments:
- The lord yearns for us Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously“? (James 4:5); and,
- “for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14).
When reading about the LORD’s desire for a relationship with me, it didn’t initially dawn on me that one of His revealed names is actually Qanna or Jealous. Strong’s Definitions for the Hebrew word קַנָּא qannâʼ indexed under H7065 is only used of God and only in these five verses: Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 5:9; and Deuteronomy 6:15.
When I consider that just as God’s name is LORD, His name is also Jealous; and then, that He jealously desires to be united most closely in will and spirit with me as He is One within the Trinity, I am completely amazed! Jesus said:
- “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one” (John 17:20 to 22).
I have frequently read that verse with the lens of unity within the family of God. This view is correct, and there is more to these verses. Just as the Father was in Christ and vice versa, Jesus prayed that we would be one in Them. This requires unity with the LORD; with what He says. Our great Jehovah is Jealous for unity and intimacy with us as individuals!
- How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:17).
Understanding that the Sovereign of the universe is jealous for a relationship with me and that because He is good, He will not impose Himself upon me, it becomes my responsibility to listen to the Holy Spirit and recognize that:
- …though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2nd Corinthians 10:3 to 5).
Point 2: Understanding the Manifest Presence of the LORD
- “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.“ (John 14:21).
When Jesus said that He would manifest Himself in this verse, He used the Greek word “emphanízō” and, in Strong’s definitions, it is indexed as G1718. This word means to exhibit in person or disclose by words. It is to appear; to declare plainly; to show. It implies making something clear to a recipient.
When I think about biblically documented encounters with the LORD before and after His incarnation, I think of Abraham, Moses, Paul and John, to name a few. For this blog, let’s focus on Moses and John.
Throughout various accounts in the book of Exodus, Scripture informs us that Moses had numerous interactions with the LORD wherein it was evident to Moses that He was in the presence of the LORD. For example, the LORD was unmistakably manifest when He:
- spoke to Moses from the burning bush and identified Himself as the “I AM”;
- told Moses His name “Jehovah” or LORD;
- descended in a fire on Mount Sinai the LORD to give Moses the law; and,
- filled the tabernacle with His glory cloud.
After these encounters, Moses implored the LORD to reveal more of Himself. He said,
- “Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. … So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. “So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. “Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33, verses 13 through 23).
Imagine that after the thunderings, lightning flashes, smoke, clouds and the sound of the trumpet that Moses previously experienced, Moses desired more of the LORD’s presence. It was not just about a feeling. Moses asked God to show him His ways. He wanted to understand God’s nature, His mode of action, the reason He acts in a particular way, and His manner. David wrote, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. ” (Psalm 103:7).
Moses had such a reverence for the LORD, and he understood the LORD desired to deliver His covenant people. As such, Moses’ request for the LORD to reveal more of Himself was motivated by two factors: (1) a strong desire to know Jehovah intimately; and (2) a desire to accomplish the LORD’s goals that he was called to do.
But Moses regarded the LORD’s presence more highly than receiving the promised inheritance land. Moses would rather dwell in the wilderness with the LORD than enter the promised land without Him. Moses would not trade being with the LORD for an angel’s escort into the physical promised land.
When Moses asked for the LORD’s presence, he used the Hebrew word פָּנִים (pānîm). “Pānîm” is indexed as Strong’s Number H6440 and means the face (the part that turns). I will attempt to communicate the significance of Moses’ request and I hope it will be adequate.
Moses essentially asked for the LORD to turn His face towards Him; he wanted to stay in such proximity that he could see the LORD’s gaze. It is to meet in person and not through an agent or other means. He knew that without the LORD, there was nothing extraordinary about him or the children of Israel. What distinguished them from any other people group was the grace and favour of the LORD. Therefore, requesting the LORD’s presence also acknowledged God’s authority over all humanity to sovereignly assign limits and blessings.
His request was a sign of humility. You see, Godly humility is having an appropriate estimation of God’s greatness in contrast to one’s smallness. Humility in prayer is having enough confidence in the LORD’s nature to boldly make requests that align with His will with the understanding that the privilege of asking exists only because of His goodness.
After acquiring the assurance of the LORD’s presence, Moses asked to see the LORD’s glory. The word Hebrew word used for “glory” is “kāḇôḏ” which is Strong’s Number H3519. It means weight or heaviness. It is only used figurately in a good way; an example being the splendour or abundance of honour.
At this request, the LORD showed Moses that the weight of His character was His goodness. This manifestation taught Moses that everything God is and that all He does is good. The self-existing One is good. This is very important to grasp. When we pray for God’s glory to be present with us, we are asking God to reveal the weight of His goodness. This means we desire to understand that His holiness, love, righteousness, justice, mercy (and so on) is altogether good.
If we comprehend this, then we have should come to the conclusion that the circumstances that the LORD permits in our lives are ultimately for good. Even the horrific evil that plagues this world is a tool used to bring about a purpose in the end. Because we have such short lifespans, we sometimes do not see the ripple effect of events just as the patriarchs of faith did not see the promised land and died before the Messiah came (Hebrews 11).
When we ask for the presence of the LORD, we are asking for Him to meet with us. We may not be able to handle the weight of His character until we develop more. For this reason, the LORD protects us by showing us only what we can bear (just as He did with Moses). If we yearn to know Him better, we should build our knowledge of Him.
What are our motives for wanting to know the LORD? We all start somewhere. If reasons for a relationship with Him are still selfish, the LORD is willing to purify us, and it should be our aim to go to higher ground. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the benefits of serving the LORD, but it should not be the reason for seeking the LORD. If getting what we want is our chief motive for seeking the LORD, how will we stand when trials, test, and persecution comes? Jesus addressed this in the parable of the sower:
- “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; “yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. (Matthew 13:20 to 21).
We must be rooted in the love of Him, in His nature, in His Word and thoughts. We should seek to understand His ways. We should look for Him in the events of our lives.
Now, let’s consider the Apostle John. John called himself the disciple whom Jesus loved (refer to John 13:23 and John 21:20). Jesus loved all of the disciples, and John had gained profound insight into the depth of love Christ had for His followers. There were times when Jesus invited Peter, James, and John to a more intimate setting away from the others. This action demonstrates that some of Christ’s followers are closer to Him than others. An example of this is recorded in Mark 9:2.
John had walked the earth with Jesus, and he also saw some of Christ’s glory on the mount when Elijah and Moses appeared to them while talking with Jesus. Years after Christ’s ascension, Jesus manifested his glorified Self to John when He gave him the book of Revelation (which is the unveiling of Jesus Christ). John had become a friend, and the LORD revealed Himself and aspects of things to come to John. This friendship was a grace bestowed upon John, and John reverenced the LORD all the more for it. He wrote:
- And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. (Revelation 1:17).
When we realize the merciful, gracious and faithful love of the LORD and we maintain the appropriate view of ourselves, we become compelled to love and obey Him. We may even weep the realization of our unworthiness without His imputed righteousness. This desire is so attractive to the LORD because it is based on the righteousness of God and is pure. When we believe God’s character is as He declared to us, we are operating in faith. Our faith should lead us to obedient actions. The book of James identifies that because:
- … “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. (James 2:23).
Later in James, it is written:
- … Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
The LORD’s manifestation to Moses and John was increasing in measure and clarity. It grew over time invested in a relationship with Him founded on taking God at His Word and respect for His “otherness” or His surpassing greatness. Revelation and intimacy develop because of pure motives and a desire to glorify God through obedience. John and Moses believed in the LORD’s love, in His righteousness, in His holiness, and in what He declared; they obeyed even when they did not fully understand. They wanted to advance His kingdom and longed to be with Him.
Each time we experience His presence, we should be changed; from glory to glory.
Point 3: Desiring the Fear of the LORD
For a regenerate child of God, the fear of the LORD is the absolute desire to be accepted in the Beloved or in His presence. It is to abundantly love and respect Him so that you would never want to do anything that offends Him. If I had to say this negatively, the fear of the LORD would be the absolute distress and pain of being without Him. It is to have such great love and respect for Him so that when He is silent, you call out for Him tirelessly and desperately.
The fear of the LORD builds friendship with Him and He talks to His friends. He may reveal things to come; He may prompt you to pray for situations; He may guide you to solutions; and, He will definitely teach you through His Word.
- The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. (Psalm 25:14).
- God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him. (Psalm 89:7).
- “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15).
- “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. (John 17:6).
For those who have the Holy Spirit’s seal, we are not afraid of Him. It is quite the opposite. We run to Him, in love, because we have accepted His gift that atoned for our sins, and we are obedient to His will.
- There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1st John 4:18).
- “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16 to 18).
For those without a relationship with Him, the fear of the LORD is the dread of His righteous judgment. Jesus said:
- “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4 to 5).
The perfect example of the righteous fear of the LORD is our Saviour. In the following Messianic prophecy, we see that Jesus Christ had “the fear of LORD”.
- There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; (Isaiah 11:1 to 3).
Jesus is the Word of God incarnate. He was with God from the beginning and He is in perfect unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is the Son of God, the God-Man. His love, devotion and respect for the Godhead is the quality that allowed Him to humble Himself enough to become a Man and permit Himself to be crucified as payment for our sin.
- So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” As He also says in another place: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek”; who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:5 to 9).
Desiring the fear of the LORD is desiring to be in unity with God. This concept should never be considered obsolete, and certainly should be embraced just as much as the understanding of grace. Grace is unearned since it is a gift and the fear of the LORD is something we must willingly grow in.
The only way to grow in love, respect and devotion for God is to know Him better. He has promised to reveal Himself to those who seek after Him sincerely with all of their hearts. This means that He is our priority and we invest time and energy into the relationship.
- We long for His Word.
- We enjoy talking to Him.
- We want His opinion on everything.
- We wait to hear His response.
- We never want to offend Him so obedience is a pleasure.
- When we make a mistake, we run unashamedly to Him in repentance.
- We believe what He tells us in His Word about His nature.
- We know we are forgiven because of His Word and His Spirit within us.
- We accept His discipline and long to grow.
- We want to advance His Kingdom.
- We want to witness.
- We naturally praise Him for His acts and worship Him for His ways.
There are plenty of believers who are content with a more casual relationship than what God offers. For a time, I was one of them. Was I saved? Yes. Did I walk in victory and authority consistently? No.
I did not understand what abiding in Jesus meant. While I am still learning and growing in the fear of the LORD, I can certainly testify that even if there wasn’t an after-life or an eternal destination, I would not trade His presence in my life for the pleasures of this world. I want to love Him more and respect Him increasingly every day! Family of God, isn’t this your desire as well?
And now for
The Fear of the LORD Enables Abiding in His Presence
Jesus said in John 14, starting at verse 15:
- “If you love Me, keep My commandments. “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. … “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
If we fear the LORD, we will keep His commandments and thereby abide as branches in the vine. Jesus said in John 15 starting at verse 4:
- “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. … “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
I can only conclude that the fear of the LORD will result in the manifest presence of the LORD so that despite any opposition (whether internal or external, physical or supernatural) true joy can remain and be full despite any adversity. While nothing of this world can completely satisfy, we can be content in this world because of the One who holds us in His hands!
- “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
- And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Revelation 12:11).
May we all grow the fear of the LORD; grow in the compelling desire to be devoted to Him in love and respect through the knowledge of Him; grow to the point that we would be so distraught at the thought of insulting our Saviour with disobedience that we fervently abide in Him. Just imagine dwelling in the manifest presence of God the way Jesus did. This was Christ’s prayer for us in John 17, and God answers Christ’s prayers!
If you feel the Holy Spirit encouraging you to believe, you should evaluate the Scripture for yourself. Please visit DESIRINGFRUITFULNESS.CA/CHOICES. There you can find 4 SIMPLE STEPS or concepts to help you ask the LORD to bring you into right standing with Him. The steps are designed to help you know why a prayer of repentance is necessary. It is as simple as acknowledging you are a sinner and believing that Jesus Christ is the risen Son of God. Then you need to obey His Word. There are no “specific words”, but there is a process to coming to faith.
All Scripture used in this blog is from the New King James Version, unless otherwise specified.