THE FEAR OF THE LORD
By: Gary L. Rodgers
Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
Psalms 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
If I were to summarize what I felt was the one thing that society at large is lacking in our world today, I would have to say that it is probably The Fear of the Lord!
The Bible says in Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” You want to be holy and have wisdom and understanding? The Bible says that we can get that if we fear the Lord.
Does God want us to fear Him to the point where we shudder and want to run and hide from Him? No! I don’t believe that at all. I believe that He wants to draw us close to His side to love us and train us, and yet He wants us to have a fear with regard to the consequences of sin because we know that our Father hates sin.
It was sin that put our Savior on a cruel cross. Not any sin that He committed, but as we know, it was our sin that would eternally separate us from God.
On Calvary it was the sins of the world that drove the nails through the flesh of Christ, who was the living veil which was torn between us and God.
Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
Jesus is our true Ark of security to deliver us from the wrath of a Holy God. It is sin that still sends people to a lost and condemned eternity who will cry out from the depths of hell, My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?
DOST NOT THOU FEAR GOD
Next to Christ on the cross as we know, hung two thieves who were justly condemned for their life of sin. The one looking on Christ and believing in him rebuked the other saying Luke 23:40 “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? (Even in the face of sure death there are people that are so blindly led by Satan that they display no fear of God. Unfortunately for them they will find out what it means to experience fear in the hands of a living God. Hebrews 10:31) Continuing on with the one thief’s comments to the other thief with regard to their condemnation and guilt in verse 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. What a precious promise!
Matthew 27:39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. (The Jews being spiritually blind require a sign. (1 Cor. 1:22) therefore they do not walk by faith for “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 ) 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.”
THE WORLD HAS BEEN TOLD
They got the message who Jesus was, it was nailed to the cross in three languages above His head. In Hebrew to tell the religious world, in Greek to tell the cultural and intellectual world, and in Latin to tell the rulers and political leaders of the world that this was indeed the King of the Jews; The Messiah, the Deliverer, the one whom the Jews sought.
The world stands naked before God, and the fig leaves of religion will not cover their sin. The Fig tree is often used in scripture to symbolize the Jewish nation of Israel. Being a part of the Fig Tree, a Jew, circumcised under the law will not save anyone. Because the world has been given the message that Jesus is the King of the Jews, no one will have an excuse for rejecting the Savior. No one!
The problem of their day was, and is, the same problem that this world has in our day. No faith from the people because they have no fear of the Lord.
Listen! Not everyone that stood before Christ on the cross that day was a non believer! There of course was His mother, and John, and other of His disciples that believed and trusted in Him. But I believe that scripture proves that there were still others that knew who He was but they lacked the faith and the spirit to trust Him.
I can be exhausted and stand next to a chair for hours believing that the chair is designed to hold me; that’s my belief. But none of that means anything if by faith in what I believe is not exercised by my sitting down.
THEY KNEW WHO HE WAS
Let’s now look at a parable in Matthew 21:33-41, and then we will tie up this parable with verse 45. This parable is just one of the places in scripture that causes me to believe that there were others who knew full well who Jesus was, including some of the priesthood who stood there among the crowds. And I have to ask myself this question. Why? Why if they knew that Jesus was the Son sent from God, why would they do such a thing? Now I’m not saying all of them knew, but I do believe that there were some that did!
As we read these verses I would like to interject some thoughts as we go through it.
Matthew 21:33 Hear another parable: (an illustration of a truth in a story line) There was a certain householder, (the Lord our God!) which planted a vineyard, (the house of Israel, a people chosen by God to be holy) and hedged it round about, (A divine hedge or wall of separation and protection. The Jews as chosen by God were to be a peculiar separated people from all others on the earth. Deut. 14:2) and digged a winepress (Emblematically the winepress typically speaks of judgment (Isaiah 63:2-4, Rev. 14:19-20) in it, and built a tower, (The Temple was the highest place within the city of Jerusalem where the Priests and Levites kept their watch every night. It was also a place where man met with God in the Holy of Holies. So it was not only up to the priesthood to watch over the Temple. They had a responsibility to safeguard the rituals and laws of God) and let it out to husbandmen, (These husbandmen were the Chief Priests and Pharisees and we will pick up on that in verse 45) and went into a far country: (The far country is speaking of Heaven where the householder (God) is waiting for the day when the vineyard (the souls of His people) are ready for the reapers to harvest.)
So let’s just pull our points together for a minute in this one verse.
- The householder is God
- The vineyard is the house of Israel the chosen of God
- The hedge shows that they were to be a separated people
- The winepress speaks figuratively of God’s judgment upon mankind
- The tower as we know is the Temple. It was the place where the Priests and Levites would offer sacrifice to God on behalf of the people
- The husbandmen are the Chief Priests and Pharisees who were responsible to the householder to tend to the vineyard and bring up a fruit (body of people) that were to be presented unto the Lord as a holy people.
THEY WANTED HIS WEALTH AND HIS POWER
Continuing on with the story in Matthew 21:
34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. (Who were these servants that were sent? The Prophets!) 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence (fear) my son. (I think we all know who this son was? Jesus! The only begotten of the Father!) 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the Heir; (Did you get that? They said this is the heir, meaning that this is the son, (they recognized who this son was) come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. (Ah ha! how interesting that they said this. First of all take notice that this is the husbandmen not the people of house of Israel that’s doing the talking, and they are plotting to kill the heir. And the core reason why they wanted to kill him was to seize on His inheritance.
If you are a part of an estate as the next one in line to gain power over the estate, you don’t get that unless the one ahead of you dies. I remember in 1994 when the Melendez brothers were sent to prison without the possibility of parole because they killed their parents in hopes of gaining their parents’ considerable fortune. They wanted to seize the inheritance so they plotted and killed their parents. There’s nothing new under the sun says Ecclesiastes 1:9.
THEY LOVED THE PRAISE OF MEN MORE THAN THE PRAISE OF GOD
Remember that earlier in the message I said that I believed that scripture proves that there were still others that knew who Jesus was but they lacked the faith and the spirit to trust Him? This parable is just part of it. In addition to what we have just read I would like to present to you the words of John 12:42 and 43.
John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him;
[** I actually like the way that the NIV puts it. “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.”]
42 continued but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Keep that in mind as we get back into Matthew 21 and continue on with verse 39.
THEY FEARED LOSING THEIR POWER OVER THE PEOPLE
Matthew 21:39 And they caught him, (they arrested and condemned Him, the heir of the vineyard, Jesus!) and cast him out of the vineyard, (He was rejected by the very people that He came to seek and to save and they removed Him from the city of Jerusalem! He hung on a cross outside of the city, despised and rejected says Isaiah 53:3) and slew him. (they crucified him) 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard (He will open up His vineyard to a new people that have made it their choice to be holy and acceptable unto God. Not as a Jew being one by natural birth, but one being a Jew by a spiritual birth believing God as did Abraham. Romans 4:16-17, Gal. 3:6-9) unto other husbandmen, (Who were these other husbandmen? The Gentiles!) which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. (the harvest of souls)
Often fear causes us to do things that in time we will regret. I believe that some and possibly a fair number of the Chief Priests and the Pharisees knew that Jesus was the Son, and God was convicting them of their error, for it says in verse 45 “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.” You see! The reality of Christ’s message finally hit home. Not everyone in a church building is a believer. There are those who know who Jesus is but they are not willing to trust Him for fear of what they may be asked to give up. The rich young ruler proved that point. (Luke 18:22 & 23) Jesus was not after the young man’s wealth. Jesus was trying to get the young man to let go of his idol, money! But he couldn’t do it, not even for the sake of eternal life. How sad that there are others of the same mind.
We find in another portion of scripture that after Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, word got back to the Chief Priests and Pharisees about this and it says in John 11:47 & 48; Listen to this carefully! “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place (our prestigious office our station) and nation.
Apparently the Chief Priests and Pharisees craved the love for the praise of men more than they feared God and they had no desire to lose their position and wealth. No wonder Christ called them hypocrites and blind guides! The fear of losing power and wealth has caused many a person to do some of the most vile and unthinkable things that one could imagine.
TWOFOLD MEANING OF FEAR
The word fear in scripture carries a two-fold meaning. It means to be afraid to anger or disappoint someone. It also means to have a great deal of reverence towards someone or something.
Fear will cause us to show respect. Not only does fear build respect it also builds camaraderie and unity with others facing the same situations.
Nothing will teach us more, and nothing will cause us to have a greater love and respect for God and His people, and a love for lost souls, than when we grasp the truth regarding “The Fear of the Lord!”
If you have never trusted Christ to save your soul, then I would like to invite you to do so now. Simply follow along with me in praying while trusting in Christ and with a heart of sincerity repeat these words.
Lord I know what sin is and I know that I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God who died on a cross, was buried, and resurrected from the dead for me. I am placing my full trust in you only to save me and wash away all of my sin with your blood. Please come into my heart as my LORD and Savior. Amen!
If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, then we praise God for you. The bible teaches in Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
You should write down the:
of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.
Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067, or visit our website at http://www.myerstownbaptistchurch.com/ to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk and too answer any questions that you may have.