This week I was in our church staff meeting when our pastor began sharing about a message he had heard last year about the Fear of the Lord. Though I cannot quote exactly what he said in the meeting, he said something to the sort that “The problem of the church today is not whether we love God, but whether we actually fear Him.” In an age when most non denominational churches speak predominantly on the love of the Father and how great is His love for us, this is quite the eye opening statement. Yet, the more I pondered it, the more I could see the depth of truth in what he said.
In 2 Samuel 11, we read the well known story of David’s greatest mistake during his incredible 40 years reign in Israel. Just within his view is a woman named Bathsheba taking a bath on the roof of her home. David obviously liked what he saw and requested her presence. We all know what happened next and within a short amount of time, she sends word to him that she is pregnant. David then tries to cover up his sin by bringing her husband, Uriah, home from war in hopes that he will sleep with her and eventually think the baby is his. Unfortunately, this is not what happens and after a few attempts to get Uriah to go home to his wife, he sends Uriah back out to battle with a death sentence in his hand.
To me, this is an extremely heartbreaking story. Up until this moment in time, David had done everything right. Before he took his place as king, he had many chances as a young man to kill his adversary, Saul, and take his rightful place as king. However, with each chance he also chose to “not touch the Lord’s anointed.”
In all that he did up until this moment in time, it is clear that David had such a strong fear of the Lord that it influenced every decision he made. Even when given a chance to bring to pass the prophetic word that had been spoken over him, he chose to relent and not take the matter into his own hands. He knew that God would bring him into his place of kingship and that he did not have to force it. His fear of God was greater than his desire to gratify his flesh. I believe that David might have believed that Saul could even change and become a better king. Maybe this is why God called David “a man after His heart.” Maybe this is what made David such a great king!
The story goes on that the child is born and after some time the prophet Nathan comes to visit David. Nathan shares a story about a rich man who took the lamb of a poor man to feed his visitor. As David heard this story, he began to burn with anger and ordered the man to be killed. It was in this moment that Nathan points out that he (David) is that rich man. At this, David realizes what he has done and falls before his Father in Heaven and cries out to God. This is the moment where he writes what we now know as Psalm 51.
What strikes me about this story is that it seems that for whatever reason David lost his fear of God and decided to give in to the cravings of his flesh. We know that David did not lose his love for God, but for some reason, that love for God was not enough to stop him from coveting his neighbor’s wife and giving into to the cravings he felt.
I think when we look into our own life, we can also see a similar pattern. Why is it that we do not struggle with certain sins, and then struggle greatly with others? Could it be that our fear of God is greater in some areas of our life than others? Could it be that we would rather please the longings of our flesh more than we want to please God? Do we ever take a moment to realize that it is God who gives us our every breath and at any moment, can take that breath away?
I want to take a moment to challenge you to look into your own heart and see what it is that you are struggling with right now. Do you have a repeated pattern of sin in your life that you have struggled with for many years? Or maybe it is something you recently started struggling with? If so, I want to encourage you to take a moment to evaluate just how much you fear God in that area of your life. What does God say about that “sin” that you have been holding on to? I want you to then take a moment to humble yourself before God, truly repent, and ask Him to give you a fear of Him in that area of your life.
This may be something that you will have to do many times. Don’t be discouraged! He is faithful and is always with us to help us through those deep struggles. The key will be growing in our fear of Him and allowing Him to do His transforming work in our life.
In closing, I want to leave you with Proverbs 9:9-11 “Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom[b] your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.”