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The Ingredients of the Fear of God August 15, 2005

Posted by mjtilley in Uncategorized.

Based on what the instances of “fear” and the fear of God in Jonah, we can derive three things that are necessary to create true and real fear of God. Credit for this specific listing of ingredients must be given to Pastor Albert Martin’s series of sermons on the fear of God. But his wording is so precise and useful for this discussion, it fits perfectly with the fear of God in Jonah.

First, we must understand that God is no fairy tale or concoction for weak minded people (Proverbs 16 and Isaiah 6). He’s real. Therefore, the first ingredient is a correct concept of the character of God, particularly His immensity, majesty and holiness. This “knowledge” has to be more than a simple ability to recite His character traits, but a deep knowing.

It’s the difference between thinking a building “may” be on fire and knowing that it truly is. The former may inspire further investigation. The latter inspires real action; it changes who and how you are. So it is with knowing God. If we know that God is real and His character isn’t just the finer points of a fantasy religious system but are the attributes of a living deity that means what He says, then it will change us.

Second, we must understand that God isn’t just “the man upstairs” – a far off and kindly gentleman who is surprised yet removed from our suffering and sin (Psalm 139). He’s here. Therefore, the second ingredient is a pervasive sense of the presence of God.

I may well believe God to be real and His attributes honest reflections of who He is and what He is capable of. But until I recognize that He is next to me – no matter if I’m in church or in sin – it will continue to have a minimal affect on me. I may truly care what God thinks of me, but until I realize the He’s constantly with me, I may have a limited (or even warped) sense of exactly what He does think of me.

Third, we must understand that God’s reality and presence aren’t independent of our own actions (Deuteronomy 28). Instead, this great, grand and omnipresent God expects certain things of me. And beyond just expecting those things, He’s more than simply disappointed when I fail to fulfill His expectations.

While someone living in the fear of God does care about simple disappointment in the one they fear, the most intense fear of God is instilled by the real and terrible implications of failing to meet those expectations. If we have correct concepts of God and if we recognize God’s ever-present state, then we understand what God has seen in our lives and how atrocious it must be. We will mimic Isaiah and say “Woe is me. . . ” We will understand that we will be separated from the lovely fellowship of God and that God has the right – and even promised in some case – positive, proactive judgment on us.



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