Fear’s Prominent Position
William Mason was born in 1719. He was a man of prayer and worship who called John Wesley his friend and mentor. He was the author of several devotional and Bible study books. He wrote:
“This fear of God is a blessing of the covenant of grace…what matter of thankfulness that the Lord hath put his fear in thy heart, O Christian! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is perfectly consistent with the strongest faith, the most inflamed love, and the highest spiritual joy. Through faith in Jesus we are delivered from a servile, slavish fear of God, which fills us with legal terrors; yet we are possessed of a filial, loving fear towards Him, as to a tender and affectionate father.”
The fear of the Lord is a fabulous fear because it produces fabulous results in our lives. It leads us to the life we all want. As Mr. Mason points out, it’s not something to be frightened of, but it’s a loving attitude of reverential worship and awe to the God who loves us unconditionally.
The fear of the Lord is the key that unlocks the multi-faceted, extravagant, goodness of God in our life. When we see that God is for us it should humble us to the point where we then respond to Him out of fear.
Deuteronomy 10:11-13 captures Moses’ words to the Children of Israel. They are getting ready to go in and possess the land that God promised them and Moses encourages them to operate in the fear of the Lord.
He lets them know that the fear of the Lord is for their good. It’s a requirement, not simply a suggestion. What we have to understand is this isn’t a condition of a harsh, heavy-handed taskmaster that just wants us to unquestionably submit to His authority. This is a requirement from a loving Father. He said, “It’s all here for you; if you’re going to experience it just fear Me, revere Me, hold me in awe and stay away from anything that’s going to steal our relationship. Walk with Me. Obey Me. Do what I say. Get rid of your short-sighted, shallow, carnal living and press into Me. It’s all there for you.”
Also, the fear of the Lord was a prerequisite for possessing the Promised Land. We’ve done a disservice—we write our old hymns and our songs and we have this rosy picture of the Promised Land, like it was something they just strolled right into. Let me tell you, there is possessing of the Promised Land that must happen. The Promised Land is where they fought some of the fiercest battles.
God has a promised land for each and every one of us as well, but we need to possess it! We are going to face some battles along the way. We’re not just going to stroll into it. We can fully possess it by walking in the fear of the Lord, by revering Him, by loving Him, worshiping Him, serving Him with our whole hearts and departing from evil.
Some of us know His promised land is out there, but because we’re not walking in fear, we end up not getting into it. We see everybody else gaining spiritual ground and coming into their inheritance. We see them being blessed and prospered spiritually and going for it with God. We see their zeal and we sit back and think, “How do they do that? They must be faking it!”
Here’s what you need to know—they are not faking if they are walking in the fear of the Lord!
God is so good that if you just walk with Him there is no need to fake anything. If we want to possess the spiritual ground God has promised each one of us, we just need to start walking in the fear of the Lord. It’s a requirement and a prerequisite to possessing the Promised Land.