The Fear of the Lord and the Awe of the Lord - David Mitts
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Today, I want to propose that we are created to fear as a step into awe and wonder. The scriptures tell us that the beginning of our relationship on learning to live in a healthy relationship with God and our lives is to fear God.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. (Psa 111:10)
There is a reason in times past when people spoke of a person whose lifestyle strove to follow the ways of God, that person was labeled as a “God-fearing” person. If you were to ask the person what their motivation was, you might receive many different reasons for their adherence to a “godly” lifestyle but at the root of it would be a deep desire to honor God born of a sense of reverence that the Bible calls “fear”.
As we have spoken over the last few sessions, fear of the Lord is different than any other kind of fear. Where other fears cause us to try to control what we do with respect to the fear, the fear of the Lord causes us to consider releasing control unto God.
Yeshua spoke about a narrow gate. Turn with me to Matthew 7:12-23.
"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. "So then, you will know them by their fruits. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'(Mat 7:12-23)
This scripture is about the fear of the Lord. We know that because of the way it ends, with the outcome of being excluded from the Kingdom of heaven.
This is a wake-up call for our hour and time!
OK. So it begins with what we call the golden rule. Treating others with the same measure that we want to be treated. This is the opposite of narcissism. It is a heart of serving others and having a giving heart. At the root of that is fearing God and wanting to live a life that reflects God.
After Solomon, the kingdom split into 2. One was the smaller kingdom lead by Solomon’s son Rehoboam and the other is the 10 tribes led by Jeroboam. Both kings lost the fear of the Lord.
So Jesus said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. "All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (Joh 10:7-9)
Yet as the door or the gate, He is also the one in whose name things are done in Matthew 7. So it isn’t as simple as declaring Jesus. I think the key is the fear of the Lord. You see the false prophets are those who use His name for their agenda. False prophets are not just false prophets because they lie. They are false prophets or counterfeits because they imitate the real without the true authority of the king and the kingdom.
Counterfeit money is similar to false prophets. It looks and acts like authentic money, but it wasn’t SOURCED in the kingdom. This hour, the hour of lawlessness and iniquity is marked by voices that seem to be real, but they are not sourced in the Kingdom.
The key to the real is the fruit. What are the fruits? We know:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Gal 5:22)
You see the fruit of lives that demonstrate the genuine currency of the kingdom of God are lives that are worthy of the Lord, pleasing to Him in all aspects and bear fruit in every good work.
This is called being God-fearing.
You see in this divisive hour that we live in you cannot be right no matter what you believe. I am not saying there isn’t right and wrong. I am saying that divisiveness is a symptom of the loss of the fear of the Lord which is revealed by how we relate to God and to each other. You see if we are “right” in our issues but treat others with contempt because they believe differently then we have lost wisdom and love. Going back to Israel and the division of the kingdom into Rehoboam and Jeroboam, both were wrong because they lost the fear of the Lord which was embodied by David and Solomon, love and wisdom. A divided kingdom cannot stand. It really doesn’t matter much which side of the divide you find yourself on. The place of unity is the place of power.
So, how do we find our way in troubled times with so much strife and division back to love?
Awe is the heart condition of wonder that opens up to the majesty of God. We are created for awe. Without an awe of God, we will replace that need with awe of people or things.
It is no accident that entrance into the Land and entrance into the kingdom begins with awe. What exactly is awe?
Lisa and I had the privilege of visiting Lloyd and Nancy as Lloyd’s body took its last breath. At that moment Lloyd’s existence in this realm gracefully ended and He was received into awe, into the realm of Glory. I closed my eyes and saw in my inner sight the brilliance of the Presence of the Lord and His humanlike form. My whole body tingled with energy as I knew that a powerful transition was happening from the realm of time into the realm of eternity, what Yeshua proclaimed as the kingdom of heaven. I also heard with my inner ears the voice of the Lord saying, “now, the adventure begins”. I also felt and heard Lloyd’s love for his gathered family and knew that was the most precious feeling any of us can have for each other, love. Love is awesome, it is of awe.
Awe is what takes our breath away. Literally, the one who takes our breath away is the one who gives us breath.
What is exciting to me is that when we received the Lord’s atonement for our sin nature, we received a new breath. This is the breath of the eternal realm. Unlike our time-restricted breath that goes in and out and is numbered, our eternal breath is of a different realm is not numbered.
A good analogy is the transformation of the baby in the womb to a baby born. In the womb, the baby “breathes” through the umbilical cord and the placenta. When the baby is “born” the lungs take their first breath. When that baby “dies” the spirit takes over breathing. When we become born again, that breath is the breath of heaven.
And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. (Joh 20:22)
The Holy Spirit is the breath of eternity. While on earth, we access it, called the abiding life, but only after the end of natural breathing, do we fully rely on it.
Unbound by time and space as we know it, like the birthing of a child from the relative confines of the womb, we graduate into the realms of eternity. Turn with me to 1Corinthians 15:35-49:
But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?" You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. (1Co 15:35-49)
Now, we could argue about timing. BUT I think that is an argument tied to the physical body. When we are born from our mother’s womb, we begin to breathe and we breathe until our last breath. This could be called the incarnation period of the perishable body. Does the baby pre-birth body cease to be? No! It is transformed into the breathing body and is with it our whole perishable existence. When we receive Yeshua, we are born again. The perishable body coexists with the newly born imperishable body, our spirit man.
When the perishable body perishes, fulfills its allotted time, determined by God, we fully are born into our imperishable body. Our perishable body has an identity, called in bible-speak glory. The glory of our body is its beauty, physical talents, emotions, etc. This complex is how we are known in the world of the perishable. It is a kind of treasure, a moth and rust kind. It has DNA from the natural lineage.
Our spiritual body also had a greater glory. This is the glory or the image of its DNA. Our spiritual body doesn’t just exist at our death but also exists now, because it is not of the realm of perishable but of the eternal. The truth is it has always existed because it exists in God.
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (1Co 15:50-58)
The last trumpet is the activator of spiritual awareness. Yom Teruah begins the Days of Awe. Awe is one of the keys. When we experience awe, it takes our breath away. It brings us into an awareness of a greater reality than that which perishes. We need an awe revival to live fully alive.