What are the Benefits of Those Who Fear the Lord?

We are told in Proverbs 1:7 that:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; 
fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

What does it mean to fear the Lord?

Fearing the Lord means that we have a certain awe and respect for God, which arises from recognizing our place in the universe. No matter what psychology says, we are not the center that everything and everyone should revolve around. God is at the center because He is the Creator and subsequent owner of all creation. We are His.

When we recognize God’s power, glory, and creative genius, we should be driven to wonder, amazement, and a deep respect for God. Instead of worshipping self or creation, we should worship the Lord. Instead of trying to do things on our own, thinking we know best, we should seek the Lord and His Word because we know He knows best, and when we live according to His design things go well.

The Benefits of those who Fear the Lord

The Psalmist, building on the idea from Proverbs, enumerates the benefits of those who fear the Lord in Psalm 25.

(1) His guilt is pardoned, and he no longer has to fear the Lord’s wrath (11).

(2) He receives the Lord’s instruction, telling him how he should live (12).

(3) His soul is at ease. Worry, stress, and, at times, even the hardship of life are not present (13a).

(4) His children will inherit the land promised by the Lord because the father’s actions don’t result in discipline. By the hand of the Lord, He dwells securely in the land and his children are able to inherit that same land (13b).

(5) He will receive the counsel of a friend from the Lord (14a).

(6) God’s covenant faithfulness is made known to him (14b).

(7) He will be rescued from his enemies by the strong hand of the Lord (15).

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you fear the Lord?
  2. Do you recognize the benefits of fearing Him?

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Why do you do the things you do in the name of the Lord?

Worship God

Every week, I meet with a group of guys at IHOP for breakfast, coffee, and Bible study. For the last year, we have been working chapter by chapter through the Minor Prophets. It has been a fruitful study! We are currently in the book of Zechariah, so we are almost finished. When we came together this last week, we worked through chapter 7.

The Question

In the beginning of chapter 7, we learn that for seventy years, those in the Babylonian exile fasted during the fifth month as a way to mourn the destruction of the Temple. Now, that they have returned from exile, a group from Bethel comes to Jerusalem asking whether they should continue weeping and abstaining in the fifth month, or quit and celebrate the future restoration of the Temple with joy? (Zech. 7:1-3)

God’s Challenge

God, through the prophet Zechariah, doesn’t provide an immediate answer. Instead, He challenges their heart motivation for keeping the fast. Were they truly sorry? Did they fear the Lord? Or was it all for their own benefit?  (Zech. 7:4-6)

Examine Your Own Heart

Similarly, are the things we do in the name of the Lord for His benefit? Because we fear Him? As a way to worship Him? Or do we do them for our own benefit? Because they make us feel good? Or because we feel obligated? Why do we do the things we do in the name of the Lord? What a great question to ask of yourself and your church this week.

Question for Reflection?

  1. Why do we do the things we do in the name of the Lord?

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How Do You Know If You Rely On God?

God Word Art

Self reliance is and has always been the beat of our heart. We don’t believe we need others, or God for that matter. Take these quotes for instance:

“It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.”

― Epicurus

“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”

― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“Trust your instincts, and make judgements on what your heart tells you. The heart will not betray you.”

― David Gemmell, Fall of Kings

“Remember, this is important: Never trust that you will be saved by anyone.”

― Amanda Boyden, Pretty Little Dirty

But is this true? Should we rely on ourselves alone? Can we save ourselves, care for ourselves, and do all by ourselves without anyone else’s help?

I don’t think so. We were created to be dependent creatures. That doesn’t mean we are to depend on others for handouts, or to do all for us. Rather it means we were primarily created to be cared for and sustained by our Creator. By design, we are to rely on God.

How do you know you rely on God? There are several questions you can ask yourself. Let me offer three.

(1) Do you pray and read God’s Word?

Our God is not silent. His will is found in His word and through prayer. He doesn’t leave us to wonder. We know exactly what is good for us. What is right for us. What God expects of us. How we should live and act.

So do you search God’s Word for answers? Do you bow before the Lord in prayer? If you do these things on a regular basis, you know you rely on God.

(2) Do you hope in God?

There are several things we could hope in, one of which is ourselves. Those who do push everyone away, thinking they can do it all on their own; that they are their own savior.

A classic example of this are those who are too proud to ask for help when they are in financial trouble. It doesn’t matter what happens or how bad it gets, they aren’t willing to go to their family, friends, or church for help. They would rather loose everything and go without.

People can also hope in others. It’s not wrong to ask others, or the church for help. We should in times of need. The problem arises when we think others are our hope, our salvation. Israel had that problem. Instead of hoping in the Lord, they hoped in other nations. Time and time again you read of prophets calling them back to the Lord, but they didn’t listen.

Israel’s problem is still our problem. We hope in others to save us, but men can’t save us. The only person who can save us is God. We should put our hope in Him. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He will always deliver on His promises.

So who do you hope in? Yourself? Others? God? Your answer will determine who you rely on.

(3) Do you live according to God’s Will?

If you rely on the Lord, you won’t live according to your will, or societies will, but according to God’s Will. You will do this because you recognize God’s will isn’t a hindrance, but a grace. It’s a trustworthy gift given that causes us to flourish.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Who do you rely on?
  2. Do you see God, others, or yourself as your functional Savior?
  3. Do you live according to God’s will?
  4. Do you pray and read God’s Word often?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon Rely on God

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