Maintaining a Healthy Fear of God
Trust and Obey
“Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.” (Deut 13:4).
“And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28)
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)
In this post, we shall continue with our mini series on “Maintaining a Healthy Fear of God” by looking at a very important pre-requisite for maintaining a reverent fear of The Lord and have a fixed and unshakable focus on Him (keeping our eyes set on the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ) – The Grace to Obey and Trust.
I will try to explain this by looking at the hymn When We Walk With The LORD, my favourite ‘song’ at primary school; but before that, I will like to look a little bit more at what the fear of The Lord really is.
We have said in previous posts that the fear of God is simply the reverential response, the submissive attitude that should be triggered by a revelation of God – A response of being totally and absolutely fixed on Him that follows any revelation of Him. In the times ahead of us, there will be a very serious need to have our whole being totally and absolutely “fixed on the Lord”. The fear of the Lord (not the fear of a vicious God) means different things to the believer and the unbeliever:
To the unbeliever – For someone who does not believe in God, the fear of God should mean the fear of the judgement of God and eternal residence in hell; a waste of man’s sojourn on earth, a sojourn that ultimately qualifies him/her for eternal separation from God –
“But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him”. (Luke 12:5)
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”. (Hebrews 10:31)
To the believer – the fear of God is a reverence for God; it is as we have seen in “Maintaining a Healthy Fear of God” – a holy and righteous reverence for the Lord; a healthy reverence that is borne out of an absolute and total trust in the Lord; an extra-ordinary, absolute and total trust that is a derivative of an unconditional love for Him, and an unconditional love that is steadied by knowing who our God is –
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire”. (Hebrews 12:28-29)
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby”. (Hebrews 12:5-11)
This chastening which He does though may be harsh according to the way one might perceive it, but to His own, it is not; because even through it He “cushions” and “furnishes” his own –
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
So that we can all through His chastening realise that all He is doing is to train us to conform to the nature of His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, even as if it has to be painful –
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”. (Hebrews 13:5)
Trust and Obey – John Henry Sammis
“He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.” (Proverbs 16:20).
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.” (Psalm 84:11-12)
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:7-11)
I will now like to have a look at this hymn, Trust and Obey by John Henry Sammis; It has been one of my favourite hymns right from the reception class in primary school: like all timeless hymns, it is one that addresses our need to stay on the ‘narrow road’; one that addresses our need to permanently abide in our Lord and have our whole being fixed on Him. The hymn also reminds me of an experience of what ‘Yearning to the Lord with purity of heart’ can do. Connie Ruth Christiansen wrote this about the hymn:
In 1887, just following an evangelistic meeting held by Dwight L. Moody, a young man stood to share his story in an after-service testimony meeting. As he was speaking, it became clear to many that he knew little about the Bible or acceptable Christian doctrine. His closing lines, however, spoke volumes to seasoned and new believers alike: I’m not quite sure. But I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey.
Daniel Towner was so struck by the power of those simple words that he quickly jotted them down, then delivered them to John Sammis, who developed the lyrics to Trust and Obey. Towner composed the music and the song quickly became a favourite. It remains popular with hymn singers today.
She said that although at the time of giving this testimony it became clear to many there then that John Sammis “knew little about the Bible or acceptable Christian doctrine” but I’ll say that the hymn was in him, and gave him the confidence beyond all reasonable and ‘unreasonable’ doubts to say “I’m not quite sure. But I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey”
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” (Matthew 13: 44-46) Selah!!! (stop and think about this)
May our Lord continually give us cause and empower us to say: though “I’m not quite sure, but I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey”.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way: To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
(We will come back to the chorus in our conclusion)
When we walk with the Lord, In the light of His Word:
Before we believed in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ we were children of darkness; but now we are children of light. We have to move far from the works of darkness–
“Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” (Isa. 50:10-11)
We must abide in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as He abides in our Heavenly Father; For it is only in him that we can see this wicked world in it’s true colours–
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
“Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (John 14:5-7)
They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. FOR WITH THEE IS THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE: IN THY LIGHT WE SHALL SEE LIGHT. O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart. (Psalm 36:8-10)
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that GOD IS LIGHT, AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: BUT IF WE WALK IN THE LIGHT, AS HE IS IN THE LIGHT, WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP ONE WITH ANOTHER, AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HIS SON CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1John 1:5)
So then, we can confidently pray:
As JESUS is THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD: THE WAY; THE; TRUTH AND THE LIFE: AND with You, our Heavenly Father IS THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE (our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ): Also IN THY LIGHT (our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ) WE SHALL SEE LIGHT. For You, our GOD IS LIGHT, AND IN YOU IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL. So IF WE WALK IN THE LIGHT, AS HE (our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ) IS IN (You) THE LIGHT, WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP ONE WITH ANOTHER, AND THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST (Your) SON CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN.
When we walk with the Lord in the light oh His Word; then we are bold enough to attempt exploits that people like Elijah did: and more importantly to be able to totally depend on the Lord in these perilous end times.
“And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.” (1Kings 18:35-37)
“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32).
In the next post we will have a look at What a glory He sheds on our way!
You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Father you are going on about” Here is why, when and how you can be ready by getting to know Him.
Admit your spiritual need.
We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
What is the result of sin?
In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.
Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.
John 3:16-17. In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.
What must a person do to accept this gift?
Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.
If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You might pray something like this:
Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.