Friday, July 24, 2009

Do You Fear God?

I have been studying the book of Malachi over several weeks. I would like to share some of the things I have been learning from this small prophet at the end of the Old Testament. I am using a study called "Before His Throne" by Kathy Howard and have enjoyed searching the Scriptures each day over a nine week period. Kathy begins this study with teaching in depth about what it means to fear God.

What do you think fearing God means? Perhaps you have thought that fearing God means that we must be afraid of Him, terrorized or fearful. Is fearing God the same as the feeling in my stomach when the lights flash in my rearview mirror? Scripture clearly tells us that we are to fear God but what would a healthy fear of God be like? In Hebrew it is "yare" meaning to fear, be afraid; to stand in awe of, be awed; to fear; reverence, honor and respect. Fear often in Scripture may be translated as reverence, awe or worship. What would this fear look like if it were lived out in the life of a believer? The person who fears God according to Scripture is described as teachable, wise, one who seeks understanding, hates what God hates, is confident in Christ, seeks refuge in Christ, calls on the Father and glorifies Him. Those who do not fear God are described as those who do not seek the Lord, hate knowledge, seek their own way, are not righteous, do not profit, practice deceit and have no peace.1.

Malachi 1 clearly describes a people who had lost their fear of God. The sacrifices they offered were blemished, their attitude towards godly things became complacent and God's words and instructions became a burden. They no longer saw God as holy and they began to have a casual relationship towards God. How about you and me? Have we become one-sided? Do we think of God as only love, love, love and forgotten He is holy, holy, holy? You and I need to know all the attributes of God. When we do we will be humbled and we will have a fear of God because He deserves to be feared for who He is. A.W. Tozer says an encounter with the holiness of God "is an acute feeling of personal insufficiency in the presence of God the Almighty."2. In other words, He is God and I am not. Kathy Howard adds, "We must allow the fear of God to become a pervasive attitude that plays itself out in our thoughts, words and behavior. We can say that we fear God, but such statements are only words if our lives do not reflect a yielded obedience to Him. A proper attitude toward God will be evident in the way we live."3.

Again I ask, do you and I fear God?

Kathy Withers serves in Guest Services at America's KESWICK. She is wife to Dave and mom to Michael and Kerri.

1. Psalm 25:12-14, Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:28-31, Proverbs 8:13-14, Proverbs 14:26-27, Romans 3:10-18, 1 Peter 1:17-19
2. "The Knowledge of the Holy" by A.W. Tozer
3. "Before His Throne" by Kathy Howard

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