The Fear of the Lord: Part 2

August 19, 2001 AM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

On Friday night we talked about the fear of the Lord. We spoke about the fear of the Lord and the Glory of God, and how as the Glory cloud followed Israel, there were blessings, protection. Whatever they needed, God provided for them, as long as they were operating in the fear of the Lord.

God has given me a series to preach about the fear of the Lord. And this morning we will also talk about the fear of the Lord.

In Proverbs chapter one and verse seven, Solomon's wisdom says to us,

7. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

7. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

What type of knowledge is he referring to? Is it scientific? It could not be scientific. Because scientists seek to exalt themselves and to exalt men's knowledge. Can it be social or political? No it cannot be social or political. Because the world's ways are foolishness with God. Oh, hallelujah to Jesus.

Can it be the knowledge of being able to quote the Scriptures backwards and forwards? No, it's not the knowledge of the Scriptures. Because the Pharisees knew how to quote the law backwards and forwards. Glory to God. But their ways were displeasing to the Lord.

Our answer can be found in Proverbs chapter two and verse one. Solomon said keep His words and hide His commandments with thee. And then in verse five, he said,

5. Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

And we will be able to come and know Him intimately. Why is it so important that we have the fear of the Lord? In Psalm twenty-five and verse fourteen, it says,

14. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him...

If you want God to reveal something to you, we have got to have the holy reverence for our God. If you want God to tell you something, you and I have got to fear Him and to walk softly before our God.

You want to know why God doesn't speak to some of us? It's because we don't have the fear of the Lord. You don't hear me today. It's not because we don't desire to hear from Him. It's that we don't wash ourselves. We don't cleanse ourselves. We don't sanctify ourselves so that we can stand in the hill of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord will cause us to hear from God. Do you hear what I'm saying today? If I reverence Him as He is and for who He is, then He's going to begin to talk to me. You want God to talk to you today, don't you? He talks to them that fear Him.

The fear of the Lord is the starting place of not a one-way relationship, but a two-way relationship. Have you ever been in a one-way relationship? When there's a one-way relationship, it brings stress on the relationship. When there's a one-way relationship, it won't work.

Ladies, you better find a man (you don't hear me) that doesn't want it just his way. If you're not married, men of God, you better find a woman (oh, you don't hear me today) that doesn't just want it her way. It's got to be a two-way relationship.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of intimacy, a two-way relationship. A two-way relationship brings balance to the relationship. Do you hear what I'm saying today? A one-way relationship won't last. Can you look at your neighbor and say, "Seasonal"? It'll be there for a season, and then after a while, it's going to disappear.

We cannot even begin to know God intimately until we fear Him, until we reverence Him. If we don't fear Him, then all we're doing is climbing a religious ladder. Oh, you don't hear me today. I refuse to climb a religious ladder. I refuse to be religious. I refuse for my relationship with God to be some sort of ritual.

I want it to be the two of us together. How can two walk together except they be agreed? I want to agree with what His Word says. No matter what I'm feeling on the inside, get down in the Name of Jesus.

Intimacy. It means to be very personal. And in order to be very personal, it involves a friendship. God called two men of God in the Bible His friends, not saying that He didn't have any other friends, but He made mention of these two specific men- Moses and Abraham.

What does it mean to be a friend? It means someone whom one knows and one likes. Proverbs eighteen and verse twenty-four says,

24. A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

He called Abraham His friend. But when we look at that word "friend" in the dictionary, you'll find a word, "chummy, chummy" around them. The friendship that we have with God when we have the fear of the Lord is not a chummy, chummy friendship. Abraham was friends with Him, but it wasn't a chummy, chummy relationship.

God called Abraham in Second Chronicles twenty and verse seven. God called him His friend. Real friends communicate with each other. Real friends reveal their hearts to each other. Real friends are not afraid to talk to each other, because they know what they tell in secret (you don't hear me) is going to be held in confidence. That's a real friend. Oh, I feel the Holy Ghost all up in here today.

He called Abraham his friend. When Abraham was seventy-five years old, God came and cut a covenant with him. How many of you know that God is not going to come to you to cut a covenant with you unless He knows there's something in you, unless He knows there's something about you, unless He knows He wants to be with you and spend time with you?

He said, "This one I can call my friend. This one I can reveal My heart to." God promised Abraham his heart's desire over in the book of Genesis chapter twenty-two. Abraham's heart's desire was to have a son. Remember he was friends, so his heart was revealed. But God wanted to reveal His heart to Abraham also. So God gave him the desire of his heart-a son.

But sometimes God will give you your heart's desire, and it's a blessing to you, and turn around and test you in that blessing. Yes, He will. He'll give you the blessing, and then He'll test you in the blessing. God will fulfill your dream, and then He'll test you about the dream that He has fulfilled for you.

He gave him his heart's desire. And he named his heart's desire Isaac. And the Lord spoke to Abraham. Hallelujah to Jesus today. And He told Abraham to take his son, Isaac. Look at your Bibles in verse two of chapter twenty-two of Genesis.

2. And he said, Take now thy son, (Then He made it a little stiffer. He said,) thine only son (wait a minute) Isaac, whom thou (Wait a minute. He's adding more to it, isn't He? Whom thou) lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

In verse three the Bible says, "And Abraham rose up early." Somebody say, "No hesitation." You see, when you fear the Lord, no matter what God tells you, there'll be no hesitation. Oh, you don't hear me today. When Jehovah is your God, no matter what He tells you, you'll be obedient to the word that He says to you.

But don't worry. You don't have to worry today. Because Jesus was our sacrifice, wasn't He? So all these crazy folks trying to sacrifice children and all of this, they're wrong. And God didn't tell them to do it.

He rose up early (tongues) with no hesitation. In verse four it says, "Then on the third day." So that meant it was a three day's journey to where he was going. Three days is a long time to think about what God told him to do with his son. He had enough time to ponder within himself wether or not he was going to do it.

I don't care what you're going through on the inside, if God tells you to do it, you better do it. I don't care how you're struggling on the inside of you (you don't hear me in this house today), if God tells you to do it, you better do it.

Three days is a long time (tongues), long enough for the devil to step in. But Abraham knew the voice of the Lord. It says in verse four,

4. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

5. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the (donkey, we'll say) ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

6. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

Now Isaac ain't no fool, is he?

7. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

"Wait a minute, daddy. This don't look right. Something don't seem right about this." But Abraham, having faith in God, in verse eight said,

8. And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

He will test you with the very thing that He blessed you with.

Before the birth of his son, Isaac, Abraham made some major mistakes. He lied. He did a whole bunch of things. But God still called Abraham His friend. Abraham believed and obeyed God. And he was fully persuaded. He wasn't like King Agrippa when he said, "Thou almost persuadeth me to be a Christian." He was fully persuaded that what God had said, He was able to perform.

God is looking for somebody in the house of God today that's going to be able to say within themselves that whatever He said He's able to perform.

He asked more than Abraham's life. He asked Abraham for his heart, his heart's desire. There were only two options that Abraham had-either to obey or be a covenant breaker. The Bible says don't vow a vow to the Lord and defer to pay it.

Many times we vow vows to the Lord, but we break those vows. We vow vows to each other. We make covenants with each other, but we break those covenants because we don't understand the importance and the power of a covenant.

The Indians would cut themselves on their thumb, because you can't have a real covenant without the shedding of blood some kind of way. Blood has got to be involved.

He wasn't a covenant breaker. We never know God is testing us until we finally get on the other side of the test. And then we'll say, "Oh, that was a test." And sometimes we'll pass the test, and sometimes we'll fail the test. It's not an exam you can cram for. You can't hear me today. You got to have the fruit of the Spirit inside of you.

Sometimes God will ask us to give up something that we believe that He has given to us, to make sure we are worshiping Him and not the thing.

So he rose up early in the morning. And in verse nine and ten it said,

9. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

10. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

And in verse eleven,

11. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

12. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

You don't hear me today. Abraham proved that he feared the Lord by esteeming God's desires as more important than his own.

You want to prove that you fear God? Esteem God's desires (you don't hear me in this house today) more than you esteem your own selfish desires. And you will know that you have the fear of the Lord.

In verse thirteen and fourteen, Abraham saw the ram in the thicket and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, "The Lord will provide." In all of that, God was revealing the secret to Abraham that He was Jehovah Jireh, the Lord God his provider. He had to go through all of that so that God could give him the revelation. He only reveals His secrets to His friends.

You see, some of us we are saying with our mouth, "Jehovah Jireh, the Lord God my provider," but the secret still has not been revealed to our hearts yet. Once it's revealed to our heart, come what may. I don't have to spit. I don't have to scream. I don't have to holler. I don't have to lie. I can say, "Jehovah Jireh." He sees and He is my provider.

Come on, give God a handclap of praise in here today.

God revealed His heart to His friends. Until we pass the test of obedience, until we pass the test of being in that hard place, He can't call us friend.

Listen. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But those that despise wisdom (you don't hear the Lord today) and instruction ...

Fear the Lord. When the Lord comes into the place, acknowledge Him. Tell that old tired flesh, that old weary flesh to get in order, for the King has arrived. Roll out the red carpet of your heart, and let Jesus come in. Give Him the best table inside of you. Place the scepter of your life in His hands, and tell Him that He's in control.

In the book of James... Glory to God today. (Tongues.) James had a powerful statement (go with me there) that he stated in James chapter two, verse twenty-one through verse twenty-three. It says,

21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Notice how Abraham was justified, not only by faith, but by his works. Faith without works is dead. The proof of his holy fear, his holy reverence was his obedience. To fear God is to believe God. To believe God is to obey God. James pointed out how Abraham's obedience was fueled by his fear of the Lord. And because he had the fear of the Lord, he became God's friend.

God only reveals His secrets to His friends. He only reveals His heart to His friends. God may give you a word about what's going on with you. But it's until you become His friend that He reveals what's going on with Him. He said He'll do nothing except He first revealeth unto His servants, the prophets.

The friends of God fear Him. They reverence Him. They don't become like Aaron's sons, too familiar with the Presence of God, Adab and I believe Nadab, something like that. They became to familiar with the Presence. Listen. They became to familiar with the Presence of God.

Don't you know that when two friends become too familiar, if they are not mature, then they'll start disrespecting each other. They'll start saying anything to you. You don't hear me. They'll start doing anything to you. But a real friend will respect you. A real friend will love you for you, in spite of your shortcomings.

When I got married, I told the Lord, I said, "Lord, I want a woman that loves me for me." You don't hear me. You need somebody that's going to love you for you.

He called Abraham and Moses His friends. Will you be His friend today? Don't say it just with your tongue. The fear of the Lord is from the heart. It's from the heart. He reveals His secrets to them that fear Him.

Give God a handclap of praise.

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