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Fear the LORD: Turn from Folly
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
"NEWSWEEK," July 8, 2002, "‘Under God, Under Fire.’" Howard Fineman in his article, "One Nation, Under…Who?" talks about his interview with Michael A. Newdow, an avowed atheist whose "aim was to surgically separate faith from any action of government." Is this mere folly? Or is it a wake-up call for believers to fear the LORD?
Psalm 14 is all about atheism. The fool declares to himself, "There is no god!" He boasts of ignorance about God, denying that any God exists to whom he must give account or from whom there might be recompense for evil. He really says, "There is no god for me." Like Satan, who very well knows God exists, he just wants nothing to do with God.
Psalm 14.1 goes on to say that such people are depraved, do abhorrent things, and that not one of them does any good. In fact, the Covenant Lord from heaven scrutinizes the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who search for God. (14.2) The atheist will not acknowledge God, a Creator or Redeemer. There is no fear of God in his heart or in his mind. And that is the folly.
Those who want nothing to do with God ridicule those who put their trust in the Lord. (14.6) Such bitter mockery of believers, however, often intensifies the search for the wisdom of God, and increases the fear of the Lord in the process.
King David understood the value of the fear of the Lord as he struggled with his fears of men. In 1 Samuel 21.10, we find David fleeing for fear of Saul. He went to Achish the king of Gath, but then the servants of Achish said things about him that made him even more afraid of Achish. In the process, David seeks the Lord. We know this because of Psalm 34. "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears…This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles…" (34.4, 6)
David changed his behavior and feigned insanity so that he was driven away and able to leave. (1 Samuel 21.15) In Psalm 34, David writes:
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the
man who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his
saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The
lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek
the LORD lack no good thing. (Psalm 34.8-10)
Even a small sampling of God’s power, provision, and protection gives evidence that God is good. But what is it to fear the LORD?
David teaches the fear of the Lord beginning in Psalm 34.11. He says it is to keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies, to turn from evil and do good, to seek peace and pursue it. (cf. 1 Peter 3.10-12)
Proverbs two adds insight. It tells us to incline our ears unto wisdom and to apply our hearts to understanding, to cry after knowledge and seek and search as if looking for hidden treasure. The LORD gives wisdom that is sound and keeps the paths of judgment and preserves the way of His saints. We will come to understand righteousness and judgment and equity. Wisdom is something that must enter into the heart. Then discretion preserves us and understanding keeps us to deliver us from the way of the evil man, from perversity and darkness, from crookedness and from the wisdom that is earthy, sensual, and demonic.
The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1.7) To fear the Lord and depart from evil will bring health to your flesh and strength to your bones. (Proverbs 3.7)
The Fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride and arrogance, the evil way and the perverse mouth. (Proverbs 8.13) The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9.10) The Fear of the Lord prolongs days, but the years of the wicked will be shortened. (Proverbs 10.27) In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. (Proverbs 14.26) The Fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the grave of death. (Proverbs 14.27) In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity, and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil. (Proverbs 16.6)
The Fear of the Lord leads to life, and the one who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil. (Proverbs 19.23) By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life. (Proverbs 22.4)
David prayed in Psalm 86.11-13: Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth. Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify Your name forevermore. For great is Your mercy toward me. And You have delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
When the Assyrians became the rod of God’s judgment against a hypocritical nation, Isaiah was warned of God that he should not fear the fear of the people, but sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself and let Him be his fear, and let Him be his dread. And then the LORD of hosts would be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 8.11-15)
Jeremiah was told to declare to Judah:
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes and see not; which have ears, and hear not. Fear ye not Me? saith the LORD. Will ye not tremble at My presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart. They are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that gives rain, both the former and the latter, in his season. He reserves unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withheld good things from you. For among My people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that sets snares. They set a trap, they catch men… Shall I not visit for these things? Saith the LORD: shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this? (5.21-29)
To fear the LORD is to hallow His name, to understand just who He is and what He does and can do. To fear the LORD brings us to keep His commandments, knowing that He is not only long-suffering, willing to forgive, and ready to pour out abundant grace and mercy, but also righteous in His justice and a God of recompense. Jesus said to fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10.28)
Right now, we are up against the angel of the bottomless pit, a/k/a Apollyon. This destroyer seeks to loose people away from Christ, from the bond of covenant, to bring them to the pit of destruction. The bottomless pit seeks those things for which there is no satisfaction, as the grave, the barren womb, earth that is not filled with water, and unquenchable fire. (Proverbs 30.16) It tears and torments, stinging and hurting such that men shall seek death and not find it and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. But this fallen angel and king who is given permission to loose the hordes of hell "has no permission to hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads." (Revelation 9.1-11) This angel moves against the disobedient, the rebellious, those who turn to folly and have no fear of God.
Jonah suffered the abyss when he disobeyed by rising up to flee from the presence of the Lord. He experienced a tempest because his disobedience lulled him into apathy. Cast into the sea, caught by a great fish, Jonah cried unto the Lord, and He heard Jonah "out of the belly of hell." Jonah spoke of the abyss as being cut from God’s presence and kept away from the temple. The storm served to bring Jonah to his senses. He came to wisdom. "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy." (Jonah 2.8) Jonah learned obedience in the thing that he suffered and that God preserves.
The foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows those that are His, and Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Timothy 2.19)
The angel of the bottomless pit draws one into the pit, the abyss of destruction, from which there is no hope of escape apart from God. It brings nightmares and torments as it produces terror in the soul. It pulls to the grave. Only God’s love flooding the soul with His standard overcomes. I experienced this love the night I was saved, as the battle with the angel of the bottomless pit raged for my soul. God’s election stands, for at the foundation, I am sealed.
God alone saves. He knows His own and redeems them from the pit, redeeming their very lives by forgiving iniquity and by remembering no more their sins and their iniquities. The fool does not cry out to God. The fool thinks there is no recompense from a holy God, no infinite justice from an eternal God, but the one who fears the Lord cries out to the Covenant Lord to bless and have mercy, to save to the uttermost, to sanctify body, soul, and spirit, and to finish the work of salvation.
Christ is that Angel of the Covenant coming down from heaven, having the key of the Abyss and a great chain in His hand, who binds Satan, plundering Satan’s house and carrying off his property. (Revelation 1.18; 20.1-3) Christ holds things together, uniting those who trust in Him to the Father. Christ is the wisdom of God, so when He enters the heart, there is understanding, discretion, deliverance, preservation and peace.
At Craighouse and Mary Craig Ministries, we know our salvation to be in Jesus Christ. As we expand and grow we see the hand of the Lord as He builds this ministry of healing and restoration to the Body of Christ and prepares the Bride for Jesus’ return. Your gifts of love enable us to help more people coming to our doors. God holds this ministry together. He is faithful, and He also brings all to pass…in His time, and in His way.
In the fear of the LORD,
Then had the churches rest throughout all
Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified;
and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the
comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. (Acts 9.31)
Honor all people. Love the brotherhood.
Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2.17)
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD:
and the people whom He has chosen
for His own inheritance.(Psalm 33.12)
|© 2002 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.|
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