Saturday, May 16, 2015
The Evil Of Not Fearing
Now we pass over to the other side - the evil of not fearing.
But this is another kind of fear, fear of the Lord, walking in the fear of the Lord, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord, submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of the Lord.
Great fear came upon the church - with what result? It lost heart, it became afraid, it was paralyzed?
No! - the Name of the Lord Jesus was glorified and the Church multiplied. Oh, this then, must be another kind of fear.
It operates in exactly the opposite way from that of which we have been speaking.
What is this fear? Well, it is the fear of devotion to the Lord.
It is that fear which, in the first place, has all questions of relationship with the Lord settled, has the whole matter of acceptance by the Lord settled, the sin question is got out of the way through the righteousness which is of faith.
Then the fear of the Lord means recognition of His glory, recognition of His greatness, recognition of His holiness, His majesty, and a humble submission to Him in the fear that would not in any way work against Him and His honor.
It is another kind of fear, the fear of devotion to the Lord, and the chief characteristic of this fear is meekness.
And that is where the sin of not fearing is found in the Word of God.
If you go through the Word and you find those various instances where God came out in judgment because this fear was not there, you will find that it was that those instances represented something like this.
In Numbers 16 you have Dathan and Abiram and their company. What are they doing?
To Moses, the meekest of men, the anointed servant of the Lord, they say, "You take too much on yourself.
You are not the only one through whom the Lord speaks. We are as much the children of God as you are!" That is how they speak, and they fear not to put their hand upon that which is anointed.
It is not that Moses is anything, but it is the anointing.
It is something anointed of God and they were guilty of the sin of spiritual assumption; it was due to a lack of meekness.
The Lord came out in terrible judgment, showing for all time that when the Lord anoints anyone or anything, that anointing is not something that constitutes that person a special office or officer.
The anointing is the Lord, the Lord Himself.
The Lord is on that, the Lord Himself is in that, the Lord is there, and when you touch that, you touch the Lord; you touch that in word, you touch the Lord, you touch that in deed, you touch the Lord.
He reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not Mine anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm (Psa. 105:14-15).
If you and I ever have the slightest reason to conclude that the Lord is anywhere or with any person or with anything or with any people, we touch that to our peril if it is touching it other than in the fear of the Lord.
It is a tremendous check.
We read that little bit from 1 Samuel. Yes, David was anointed, David was God's chosen one, but Saul had been anointed and Saul was not yet dead.
Saul was not yet set aside finally, although potentially.
David got an opportunity and cut off the skirt of Saul's garment and then it says, "David's heart smote him".
David's heart smote him. We in New Testament times in whom the Spirit dwells would say, "The Lord rebuked me, smote me in my heart, in my spirit".
Again and again this comes up - exactly what happens in the case of the bringing up of the ark. When Uzzah died before the Lord, what was the reason? It was a lack of the fear of the Lord of the right kind.
It was an assumption. It was a putting forth of a hand to touch holy things. That is terrible.
The evil of not fearing, you see. It comes from an insufficient apprehension of the sacredness of what is of God.
But this fear is a holy fear. Let no one think for a moment that this fear of the Lord is death, bondage, stultification and repression. Not at all.
Wherever you find this fear of the Lord you find joy, love, peace and liberty. People are not afraid of the Lord. But they are careful not to grieve the Lord. They do not take liberties with the Lord.
They do not think of spiritual liberty as spiritual license. They do not cast off restraint, they do not ride rough-shod over all sacred things, calling it liberty.
No, there is holy fear which restrains and in restraining keeps things pure and keeps things clear and makes a straight way for the Lord.
The true fear of the Lord is not dread. It is a very blessed and precious thing.
Now you notice these passages in the New Testament show us that it was at such times when this kind of fear came in a special way that there was something to the glory of God.
You know, if you get into the book of the Acts and you begin to see things happening, getting to the realm of "things doing" as we say, the expression and manifestation of divine power there is your peril.
That was so in the case of Ananias and Sapphira. Things were happening.
What a peril when the Lord is doing something, for the flesh to just step in and begin to sport itself in what God is doing, to take advantage, to exploit the situation for its improvement, and the Lord had to step in to save the situation.
What did He do? Well, what He did in the issue was to recover a wholesome fear, a fear that would keep things pure and "fear fell upon all". That kept things pure.
It did not arrest the Lord. It did not mean that things had got to come under bondage again.
No, it just kept things pure, and so that was repeated from time to time. "Great fear came upon all... the Name of the Lord was glorified and the Church multiplied."
What I want to say is this, that a right kind of fear, a fear of the Lord, is something which gives the Lord a very clear way to do what He wants.
To this one will I look... - and oh, what a lot is bound up with that phrase. It does not just mean that the Lord takes a look at us, looks in our direction.
When the Lord looks to us, well, there is everything we want. All that we want is in the light of His countenance.
If the Lord looks upon us, it is like the sun looking out with all the beneficent rays of warmth and light and energy.
To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembles at My word (Isa. 66:2).
Do you want, do I want, spiritual increase in understanding, in knowledge, in revelation?
Do we want spiritual increase in strength from the Lord? Do we want fulness?
Let me say that this is going to come to the humble man, the weak, meek one in the eyes of the Lord, the one who trembles at His word, who does not assume.
Oh, let us ask the Lord that there may be found in us that true holy fear which is love, not the fear which is contrary to love, but the true holy fear which is love.
The Lord will be able to go on and lead us into all His fulness if He has that quality in us, that in us which simply means that we honor Him, we recognize Him, we trust Him, we have perfect confidence in Him, and that we are very reticent either by word of criticism, or judgment, or by any other way, to put a hand upon what is sacred to the Lord, even a child of God.
If it is a child of God, then the Lord is in that one and we must be very careful.
That is what it means, and this matter of the blessing of the Lord which makes rich, this matter of the light of His countenance, is a very practical matter.
It may all hang upon some matter of our attitude towards another child of God.
The whole of the fulness of Christ may be held up and suspended for us because of some injurious way in which we talk about what is precious to God, if we criticize it, judge it, think that we can improve it.
The Lord may stand back.
Let us ask the Lord to put into our hearts His fear while on the other hand He is seeking to root out of us that evil which is so much to His dishonor.
I simply bring this to you and urge upon you further prayerful reflection. Ask the Lord about this.
Do not forget the enemy's drive along the line of fear, but do not forget that freedom from the enemy's kind of fear does not make us those fire-eaters who care for nothing and simply trample all sacred things down under foot because we are very bold.
No, there is a right boldness and a wrong boldness, a right fear and a wrong fear. The Lord teach us the meaning of that!
~T. Austin Sparks~