Today’s Reading: Isa 33:1–34:17, Luke 11:37–12:21, Job 8:1–10
Today’s Theme: Fear God, Our King
Today’s theme is about the reverential fear we should have for God our King. We will look at the results of having or not having a healthy fear of the Lord and where even being afraid of the Lord is healthy (in particular His purpose to judge all men).
The fear of the Lord is our treasure
and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is Zion’s treasure. Isaiah 33:6 (ESV)
In this prayer Isaiah cries out for God to be gracious to Judah. God is exalted as the only source of salvation over against the Judean officials, Egypt and Assyria.
Here we see something wonderful, as God is exalted Isaiah declares that the fear of God is Zion’s treasure. There is also a sense in the Hebrew where the fear of the Lord is God’s treasure held for those He would restore.
We also should cherish the fear of the Lord as our treasure. We should guard it because it is precious, it is the pathway to life and wisdom and those who lose it lose themselves. The fear of God will be the ultimate determinative for the way we live (conduct and behaviour) as God’s people.
When we speak about fearing the Lord here we are not talking about terror as though we lived under an enemy dictator. Rather, we are speaking about the response of adoration and reverence from those who are grateful to, acknowledge and love their benevolent king.
Chaff and stubble
You conceive chaff; you give birth to stubble; your breath is a fire that will consume you. (Isaiah 33:11, ESV)
The original context here is God blasting the futile pride of the enemy (Sennacherib).
God alone is exalted. When we attempt to live our lives without fearing Him we will give birth to rubbish. What we do may seem valuable now but it will all be consumed when it passes through God’s judgement. Even the words of our own mouths will become like a fire that consumes us without God.
Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 3:12–13 “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.”
We don’t want to build rubbish and be burnt out building things in our own way. No, we should fear the Lord, make our plans and do our work in union with Him.
Jesus taught us in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Acknowledge God’s might
Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge my might. (Isaiah 33:13, ESV)
God calls the whole world to acknowledge His might, He alone is God almighty. This is why naturalism and atheism is such an awful offence before God as they do not acknowledge God for the wonderful creation He has made let alone the work He has done to redeem us.
Cry out today that your nation will acknowledge God’s might and fear Him in the way He deserves.
Behold the king in his beauty
Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar. (Isaiah 33:17, ESV)
This is the climax and summary of the Bible’s overarching narrative of the King and his Kingdom.
This is the day we look forward to when we will see the king in all His glory reigning in His kingdom here on the earth He has made.
Even today we can see and savour Christ as our King. We should look and see the beauty of our king and turn our eyes from evil as the previous verses mention.
Here is a quick breakdown of the King and His Kingdom. The story of the Bible (taken from the God’s Narrative message I shared in 2014).
- Act 1 God Establishes His Kingdom (Creation)
- Act 2 Rebellion in the Kingdom (Sin and Judgement)
- Act 3 The King Chooses Israel (Blessed to be a blessing)
- Act 4 The Coming of the King (Prophecy)
- Act 5 The Life of Jesus (Life, death and resurrection of Jesus)
- Act 6 Spreading the News of the King (The mission of the church)
- Act 7 Return of the King (Restoration completed)
For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; he will save us. (Isaiah 33:22, ESV)
God is the one who gives the law, the judge who enforces the law and is the king. We show we fear the Lord by obeying the law He has given. As we will read in the New Testament today, we should fear God because He is the judge who can condemn us for our sin (also see James 4:12).
We Rejoice that the lawgiver is the one who saves us.
Don’t be an actor
And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. (Luke 11:39, ESV)
Jesus takes time to deal with the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Don’t make the mistake of thinking “yeah thats right bad Pharisees” be sure to listen to these woes and rebukes from Jesus and seek how they might be applied to YOUR own life.
The word hypocrite comes from the same word we get the word actor from. If we do not have the fear of the Lord then we are left with dead religion and the traditions of men. If that is all we have we will be actors by definition, claiming to be something we can’t possibly be without the fear of God. So we should be clean and serve God from the inside out.
Fear God, the Judge
But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! (Luke 12:5, ESV)
Jesus tells His disciples and by extension us to not fear those who can and in some cases will kill us physically because their power is limited they cannot kill our souls and cannot cast us into hell…. only God can.
God is the judge and He is the one all mankind should fear because He is the only one with the power to put anyone into hell for all eternity.
We should not let the threats of mere men change our stand for God. Our awe and reverence for our God should keep us faithful to Him under trial knowing He has the power over our destiny and even in suffering and death we are in His hands.
The fact that Jesus calls this a warning should highlight the importance of this point for all men, be warned God will send sinners to hell.
“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, (Luke 12:8, ESV)
Very much connected to the last point, we should not be afraid of what people will say about us or think of us. We must boldly acknowledge and honour Jesus before the world. Don’t fear man, fear God.
Rely on the Holy Spirit
for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. (Luke 12:12, ESV)
Fear and anxiety would be understandable if we only had ourselves to rely on in times of trial and persecution but the reality is that we have God the Holy Spirit with us to empower and teach us what to say under trial. So do not fear because God is with you.
Be rich toward God
So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21, ESV)
To be rich towards God means that God is our treasure. Don’t get caught up in the materialism of the age, instead turn your eyes to God and store your treasure in heaven by focusing your life on honouring and serving God in the fear of the Lord.
“For inquire, please, of bygone ages, and consider what the fathers have searched out. (Job 8:8, ESV)
This is a good principle, we should look to the church fathers, reformers, puritans etc of old so we can learn lessons from them. A mistake is to think we are the first ones to read and interpret the Bible. However, when looking to what the men of old have said we must do so in the fear of God, not of a particular tradition or viewpoint.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.