Sermon preached on Sunday, March 23, 2014 at Garden Valley Chapel during our morning worship service based on Psalm 34.
Take your Bible if you will and open it to the book of Psalms, Psalm chapter 34.
What is it that you fear the most? What will fear drive a man to do?
If there was an emotion that is misunderstood or misrepresented, it is fear.
It all depends on what it is that you fear and in the end you must test whether that fear has driven you to that which is good, noble, and holy. Does it drive you to that which is good, noble, and holy?
For instance unbelievers live with an innate fear to lose their worldly possessions, and to lose life itself.
But is fear to be the emotion stirred up in a believer?
In OT we read that what God requires of us is to “fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God will all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD’s commandments and His statues” (cf. Deut 10:12).
Solomon cuts it short and says in Ecclesiastes 12:13 –
13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.
All throughout the Scriptures you have examples of men who feared God.
Abraham feared God and so did not withhold his only son (cf. Gen 22:12).
Joseph feared God and declared it to his brothers (cf. Gen 42:18).
Job feared God and so turned away from evil (cf. Job 1:8).
Cornelius feared God and prayed to God continually (cf. Acts 10:2).
These were men who feared God and such fear was the attitude they carried all the days of their life.
Because to fear God is revere Him and be awed by all that He is and this always translates to life. That is why this kind of emotion / attitude must be predominant in us as His people.
A.W. Tozer has said -
“The fear of God is … astonished reverence. I believe that the reverential fear of God mixed with love and fascination and astonishment and admiration and devotion is the most enjoyable state and the most satisfying emotion the human soul can know.”
But what happens when you fear for your life? What happens when you get your eyes off of God and unto life’s troubles or circumstances?
One word: DISASTER.
Peter said it best in 1 Peter 1:17 –
17 …conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
That reverence, that awe, that respect for God ought to flow from your life here on earth. Again not in fear of man or of life’s circumstances, but on God. Jesus said to his disciples in Matt 10:28 –
28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Your eternal destiny is heaven. You have placed your faith in the One who can determine and bring to pass the destiny of souls and bodies.
Illustration: It is said of Lord Lawrence on his memorial in Westminster Abbey, “he feared man so little because he feared God so much.”
I suppose that is a great challenge for us all. It is something that believers of all ages have struggled: to ultimate fear God more than man.
Not to lapse into despair but to develop an unwavering confidence in God.
David came out of that struggle and so penned these words in a psalm.
His message is simply: God can be trusted. He does come through. We can call on Him. He will help His children. Above all, fear Him.
Read Psalm 34.
Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. (ESV)
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