Fear of the Lord - David Mitts
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Faith is undergirded by our trust in the Spirit of God. Last week we looked at the role of fear in formulating our faith. There is a difference between the emotion of fear and a “spirit” of fear. Paul tells us:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2Ti 1:7).
What marks or differentiates a “spirit” from an emotion is conscious intent. An emotion is usually a response to a stimulus in our lives that “evokes” the emotion. Emotions are primitive, meaning they are wired into our bodies, minds, and spirits. Emotions are normal and a sign that we are passionate.
A spirit is different. An emotion can be corrupted by a spirit. Desire can be corrupted into lust. It is normal and healthy to be attracted to beauty. This is different from needing to possess beauty. Our culture is polluted with the messages of possession.
In biblical times possession was easy to spot because covenant was so strong. Covenants require restraint and honor. The marriage covenant used to be such a covenant. It still is for some but for many, marriage has been corrupted from one of honor to one of desire fulfillment, called “needs”.
Today marriage is sometimes a lust-based relationship based on territorial spiritual strongholds. Add to this the intense cultural pressures for self-fulfillment and the honor and restraint of marriage gets swept away in the quagmire of convenience and selfishness.
At the root of this decay is what Yeshua prophesies as “love growing cold”. Yeshua described this time:
The hatred and betrayal that He prophesied is a direct consequence of the selfishness that is the breeding ground for demonic possession. I know demonic possession seems old-fashioned and is supposed to only happen in 3rd world countries. This conclusion is mostly because we look for obvious external demonic signs of foaming, screaming, etc.
Yet there is a more subtle and profound possession that is sweeping our time. He identifies this by the ominous term, “the beginning of sorrows”. Praying about the term, I felt led to the book of Lamentations. Lamentations mean sorrows. This is the heart cry of the prophet Jeremiah when he witnesses the devastation that comes to Jerusalem as a result of the sin of the people and their leadership.
One of the weaknesses of the church today is the loss of a strong national identity. In Biblical times, Israel was the church and the church was Israel. Israel represented the totality of the Kingdom of God. Jerusalem was His throne on earth and what kept the nation safe was honoring the King, God.
When we honor God through our relationship to Godly authority, then our Land is blessed. When we lose the honor of God, we enter the cursed condition summarized by the term, sorrows.
If we return to Yeshua’s prophecy, He describes the beginning of sorrows as:
- · Tribulation
- · Hated by all nations for the namesake of the Lord
- · Death
- · Offense, hatred, and betrayal
- · False Prophets
- · Lawlessness
- · Coldness of Love
I think the key is in Yeshua’s statement “hated by all nations for my namesake”. What does He mean by His namesake? This phrase is used a lot in the Bible. Most people read it as God’s reputation. But if you look at the Hebrew it is the word “ma-an” which comes from the same word root as “anah” which is translated as humility. This is really powerful, but it requires a little spiritual activation to grasp.
Anah means to gaze intently and lose oneself in the object of our focus. It is the place of oneness, the abiding reality of John 15. This is where God’s grace is released.
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."(Jas 4:6)
God’s grace isn’t about how insignificant we can become but how absorbed in Him we become.
We are right now, contending for the fear of the Lord in our own lives and seeing the devastation of the impact of the lack of the fear of the Lord. Know that this has always been true that there has been a remnant who possessed the fear of the Lord and the majority who do not. So what is the Fear of the Lord?
First, let’s look at what the scriptures tell us about this blessed condition:
Here we see a connection between the manifestation of God’s presence, the fear of the Lord and faith! Faith in both the Lord and the anointed man of God. In this way, we see that the fear of the Lord reflects the reality and nature of God. In this case, God is intervening on behalf of Israel against Egypt. The other thing we see is that the fear of the Lord is an antidote to the fear of man.
Let's look one level deeper: Ex 34:10
The fear of the Lord is part of the demonstration of His covenant. The fear of the Lord is also an expression of His miracles and His anointing. If we want to walk in His true anointing, we need to walk in His fear.
The book of Leviticus could be retitled the book of the Fear of the Lord. The call to come near is all about the fear of the Lord. In Deuteronomy, Moses instructs Israel that the whole point of hearing God’s voice is to learn to fear Him.
"Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when the LORD said to me, 'Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.'(Deu 4:10)
Now, we could go on and we will at some later time to flush out all of the benefits of the Fear of the Lord and the costs of the loss of the Fear, but for now, I just want to establish in your thinking that God is purposeful about the Fear of the Lord.
The question should be if God is love, why is he so determined for us to operate in the Fear of Him? Doesn’t perfect love cast out fear? Yes, it does and perfect love and the Fear of the Lord must be a together thing. It is!
Turn with me to Deuteronomy 10, Verse 12:
You see there is a progression. Fear of the Lord precedes walking in the ways of the Lord which precedes love.
Why is that? Well when we realize that “yare” is translated as “reverence”, to be in awe of, and to honor, we can see that this is a bigger experience than the common idea of fear. The root also means a river or rain. Water flowing is the path of life. When water flows either in a river or through rain, life follows. Fear of the Lord then is that place of honor, reverence, respect, even awe for the centrality of water flowing for life and this is embodied by the presence of the Lord.
"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" (Joh 7:38)
You see when you connect yare, the fear of the Lord to living water you see what He meant. There is a powerful manifestation of God’s eternal life, His river flow that comes with the Fear of the Lord.
Jeremiah spoke of it this way:
O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD. (Jer. 17:13)
This prophecy could easily be said of today.
The blatant disregard for God’s ways and the twisting of the scriptures to be inclusive of perversion brings about the shame. As an aside, if there was no shame, there would be no need for arguments and reasonings. Only those trying to promote deception need to persuade and twist the thinking of others to their agenda.
Truly this is what is at the root of the hatred of Israel:
For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him! In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light. And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one. (Zec 14:2-9)
You see we live in times where the Word of God is being obscured because of a lack of Fear of the Lord. All that is left is the impotent fear of man. Let’s repent and return to the fear of the Lord and then we can believe!