© COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved|
NO HOLY FEAR
"In many of our meetings there is scarcely a trace of reverent thought, no recognition of the unity of the body, little sense of the divine Presence, no moment of stillness, no solemnity, no wonder, no holy fear!
The whole Christian family stands desperately in need of a restoration of penitence, humility and tears. May God send them soon!" - A.W. Tozer
Have we lost something in our contemporary worship of the true and living God?
Have we become so chummy with Daddy God(as some refer to Him) that we have forgotten that the Bible also calls Him a "Consuming Fire"?
Have we emphasized too much the Love of God at the expense of the Fear of God?
Do we think that because it is a Throne of Grace which we approach daily that we can come any old way?
The writer of Hebrews desired to call the people of God back to a reverential demeanor in nearing the Throne of God.
In Hebrews 12:28, he cried out - "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."
Did we catch what he said here?
"Let us have grace" - The Grace of God doesn't cause us to become so casual and chummy in our approach to God, but it causes and prepares us to come before God "acceptably."
"Let us have grace" - Let us keep or hold fast to the Grace of God that is ours in Christ Jesus and His Word. In other words, let us take hold of that special aid, succor, and influence of Christ that will enable us to approach Him in a manner fit for the King of kings.
"Acceptably" - By the very fact that the apostle says here - "that we may serve God acceptably" - proves that there is an unacceptable way in which to serve Him.
The word "serve" means to minister to, worship, or offer gifts.
In what manner do we worship God? Do we minister to Him "acceptably"? Would our worship be done in a fashion that is well pleasing unto Him? Or are we too casual in our approach to the Throne? What is Acceptable and what is not? Can we really know?
Hebrews 12:28 answers our questions and instructs us on how to offer ourselves in service to God. The writer said - "with reverence and godly fear." This implies shamefacedness and sobriety. It implies caution, dread, discretion, modesty, fear, and trembling. It also includes any avoidance or reasonable shunning of anything that would be displeasing to God like sin in the heart of the worshipper.
Why should we cry out daily for the grace of God to enable us to approach God's Throne in an "acceptable" manner?
Hebrews 12:29 explains - "For our God is a consuming fire."
In our contemporary mannerisms and loose thinking of "anything goes" and "everyone is saved" mentality that is so prevalent today, have we lost the concept that the God Whom we serve is a "Fire" - "A Consuming Fire"?
Have we allowed psychology - which instructs us to crawl up on "Daddy God's" lap and chat with Him awhile - to cause us to lose the concept that "Our God is a Consuming Fire"?
In our contemporary music, services, ministries, churches, or personal devotions to Him; do we see Him as He truly is - "A Consuming Fire"?
Do we see Him today as the strict and just Judge that He is and to Whom we will some day give an account of our lives?
Have we forgotten the Scripture that tells us that He sees it all, knows it all, and will judge us for all - "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do"(Hebrews 4:13)?
Oh! Where is the Holy Fear that A.W. Tozer mentioned?
Where is the stillness, solemnity, and wonder at His Holy Presence?
Where are the humble and repentant hearts - overflowing with tears and totally overwhelmed by the Presence of such an awesome Being?
The Holy Spirit is leading the Church at this hour to cry out - "Let us have grace!" "Let us have grace!" "Let us have grace!"
So that we may "serve God acceptably." Not just any old way but "with reverence and godly fear."
There is a right way and there is a wrong way to serve Him.
Oh! That our eyes may be opened and our hearts filled with a solemnity and a soberness at the Honor, Glory, Excellency, Grandeur, and Splendor of such a Being that we are privileged to call our Father and our God.
Job 37:22 tells us - "Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty."
Actually, this verse is not talking about weather at all. The various commentators explained that Elihu was referring to the clouds - shining like gold and symbolic of approaching Deity. In the days of Moses, Job, and Solomon, gold was always obtained from the north country. Places like Ophir, Armenia, and Colchis were located in the North - North of Judea and Idumea. What Elihu was saying here was that just as the gold came from the north so with God will come forth "terrible majesty." Gold was associated with the north and "terrible majesty" is associated with God.
"Terrible Majesty" - This is the language of someone who was absolutely overwhelmed by the Greatness of God. It implies being afraid of ever displeasing such a One...standing in awe of Him...and honoring, respecting, and holding Him in reverential fear. He is "fearful in praises."
Psalm 97:3 says - "A fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His enemies round about."
Psalm 50:3 says - "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him."
God is pictured here as the Just Judge Who is coming to judge all the earth. His appearance will be very majestic to those who loved Him and terrifying to all those who lived in disobedience and rebellion to His Word.
He will -
...not keep silent any longer
...pronounce sentence on all.
There is an allusion here to His descent on Mt Sinai. The storm - accompanied by blinding flashes of lightning and deafening sounds of rumbling thunder - is meant to cause all mankind to shudder and shiver at the manifestation of the Presence of such an Awesome Being.
The Psalmist humbly proclaimed - "My flesh trembleth for fear of Thee; and I am afraid of Thy judgments"(Psalm 119:120).
In other words, he stated that he stood in awe of God. He shuddered at the awareness of His Presence. He feared lest at any time he would displease Him. He was restrained from sin in his life by the thought of ever offending such a One.
Psalm 89:7 tells us - "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him." Whenever we gather together as the saints of the Most High God to worship Him in the "beauty of holiness," there must always be reverential awe and a deep solemnity. Otherwise, we haven't really experienced True Worship.
In Psalm 5:7, David said - "But as for me, I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy: and in Thy fear will I worship toward Thy holy temple."
"But as for me." - It doesn't matter what others do. We must make up our minds that we will "serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." We will lean upon His abundant mercies to deliver us from our troubles. But at the same time, in profound reverence and devotion, we will bow before Him in humility and self-abasement at the sight of His infinite holiness and majesty.
Psalm 33: 8 says - "Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him." Fear and reverence are essential in our worship of God.
Psalm 95:3 adds - "For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods."
We must -
...always dread ever displeasing Him
...not dare to ever offend His holiness
...fear ever becoming His enemy through rebellion and disobedience to His laws.
Three specific commands are given to the Church by the Holy Spirit -
Psalm 2:11 says - "Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling."
Philippians 2:12 adds - "...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
As already mentioned, we are to serve the Lord with deep reverence. We must have an intense apprehension of the consequences of our disobedience to His dictates. In our times of great rejoicing and great exultation of Him, we must still be aware of His greatness and rejoice with a holy trembling. He is indeed a jealous God. His eye is always upon us. We must carry about a holy jealousy over our hearts - lest we give our affections unto others.
We must - ...be diligent and sober about keeping our souls..."With fear and trembling," walk blamelessly...and with great care and circumspection, break off with all sin, live holily and justly before Him and men, and strive to remain in the narrow way.
A.W. Tozer's statement above ended with the prayer - "May God send them soon!"
May God restore to the Christian family as well as to the Church in general a deep humility, solemnity, reverence, and godly fear as we seek to worship and serve Him in Spirit and in Truth. For these are the kind of worshippers that He seeks.
And may we all be counted as one of them.
Amen & Amen.