The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225


Church of Christ




Learning To Fear

"Assemble the people --- men, women, and children, and the aliens living in your towns --- so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord and follow carefully all the words of this law. Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess" (Deut.31:11-13).

God has made it crystal clear to His people that they must have the proper amount of fear for Him... We have seen in the last two devotionals that one must look at this fear as being a reverential awe. It is to be so powerful, that the apostle Paul tells the church at Philippi that they have to "work out their salvation with fear and trembling..." (Phil.2:12). The fear is of such magnitude that it causes a trembling in those who are wishing for salvation. Today's verses take place when the children of Israel have just about ended their 40 year wandering through the wilderness after escaping from Egypt. Before God has them miraculously cross the Jordan river, they listen to these words. As we read them, we see that it is for everyone... There is a logic to it all, as they are to learn this fear through the reading of the law... The prophet Isaiah puts it this way as he receives God's words: "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word..." (66:3). I view it in a similar way that we are to understand where faith comes from... "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ" (Rom.10:17). Our faith has it's roots in the the message, that being the Word of God. Fear of the the Lord also has it's wellspring in the Word... Just as faith is not "zapped" into us in some miraculous way, neither is the fear of the Lord. As one become more learned in God's Word, he or she is able to gain a "healthy degree" of the fear of the Lord.... Space limits me, so I suggest that you read Rom.2:4-11 and 2 Pet.3:7-14 to gain a better perspective. The psalmist has this to say:... "In the council of the holy ones, God is to be greatly feared; He is more awesome than all who surround Him" (89:7). It is important to emphasize, that to avoid the extremes, one must read all of God's Word. We can't just read about the love and mercy and forget the fear... We also can't just dwell on the hell and brimestone passages and forget about God's lovingkindness... Finally, Paul says this: "Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates the body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God" (2 Cor.7:1).

Have a great day... Let His light shine through you... Love mark Phil.4:11

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