I will just come right out and say it! Many do not fear the LORD. I do not say that with any joy. It is a terrible thing that exists in a large part of the world. However, we should not begin to believe that this is the first time that such a lack of fear occurred. Take for instance the total of humanity before the great flood. It is readily apparent that most back then did not fear the LORD. Moses recorded, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). The lack of godly fear was so deplorable that “…it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (Gen. 6:6). Due to such a condition, “…the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” (Gen. 6:7). That would have happened had Noah not found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Gen. 6:8). Because there was one who still obeyed and feared the LORD, mankind was allowed to continue. “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation” (Gen. 7:1).
That is not the only period in history when mankind did not fear the LORD. Take the people during the time of Jeremiah. It is explicitly stated, “For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD. They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine: And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them” (Jer. 5:11-13). God let them know that because of their lack of fear and disobedience, “…I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say. Their quiver is as an open sepulcher, they are all mighty men. And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword” (Jer. 5:14-17). While this punishment might seem harsh, God made sure that a remnant was spared (Jer. 5:18). God also made sure that Jeremiah was prepared when the people would question why they were being punished. “And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land thatis not yours” (Jer. 5:19). Further, God declared, “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you” (Jer. 5:21-25). Because of their lack of godly fear and their disobedience, God was going to punish them.
Now let us turn our attention back to today. Do we really see a fear of the LORD in most people’s lives? The answer is no. So many go through their daily routines without even thinking about God, much less fearing Him. We would do well to remember that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). Also, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (Prov. 8:13). With the onslaught of efforts to embrace “pride” and “the evil way”, we must never allow those that advocate for such to lead us away from God. Remember, when people stopped fearing the LORD in the time of Noah, God punished them. When people stopped fearing the LORD in the time of Jeremiah, God punished them. We need to understand that if we do not fear the LORD, and obey His Word, then we will have something else to fear. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). Christians are reminded, “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” (Heb. 12:28-29). ~ Corey Barnette
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