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Daniel 6 — The Fear of God

Daniel Class

Lesson 14

Darius and the Fear of God

 

I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. Daniel 6:26

The introduction to the Three Angel’s Messages is a solemn two-word command – “Fear God.” Thus earth’s final warning begins where Daniel 6 ends.

Be Not High-minded

Contrary to some religious pundits, there is a valid place for “fear” in personal spirituality. Not that the character of our Savior troubles our sleep, but our own character should concern us. Will we neglect to take advantage of the promises? “Let us therefore fear phobeo, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” Heb 4:1. See Php 2:12.

Will our pride or other character defect interfere with our efforts to represent our faith? “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear phobos:”1Pe 3:15

We would do ill to worry, while wholly consecrated, regarding a possible future apostasy. God is both the Author and Finisher of our faith. Nevertheless, we should fear sin. Sin today, not unforeseen difficulties tomorrow, leads to destruction. Our repose should be modified by an awareness that other favored people, after cherishing unbelief or sin, lost their position of favor. Consider the severity of God on them that fell. Consider the Jews.

Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.  Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Ro 11:20-22

The passage exhorts to a dual consideration of God. While we have more to think about in terms of His severity, we will turn first to His “goodness” on them that “continue in His goodness.” Ironically, perhaps to some, the fear of God in scripture is connected to the best of the blessings that heaven has to offer.

Spiritual Blessings

The greatest blessings to those that Fear the Lord are spiritual. Have you wondered “How can I please God?” He takes pleasure in those that fear Him. Ps 147:11. He grants them mercy higher than the heavens and pity more tender than that of a father. Ps 103:11, 13, 17. He honors them with spiritual understanding of the covenants and other “secret” things. Ps 25:14.

They receive healing from Jesus and are made successful in departing from evil. Mal. 4:2; Pr. 14:16; 16:6. They receive glory here and inherit glory hereafter. Their salvation is “near.” God is preparing special things for them in heaven. They receive the gift of unending righteousness. Ps 85:9; 61:5; Ps 31:19; Ps 112:3.

They are buttressed against perplexing doubts. Ps 119:38; Pr 14:26. They are coworkers with heaven, guided into the right path, directed in character development, and endowed with responsibilities in God’s work. Ps 25:12; 2Co 7:1. Ex 18:21; Ezr 9:4

Physical Blessings

Their temporal life is equally charmed. They are saved from difficulties. Ps. 145:19. They are provided needed refuge. Pr 14:26. They are fed. Angels guard them roundabout. Their lives are prolonged and enriched. God provides them lodging. Ps 111:5; Ps 34:7; Pr 10:27; Pr 14:27; Pr 22:4; Ex 1:21.

They receive life insurance from Him who knows every need of those they leave behind. 2Ki 4. At Christ’s coming they are resurrected and given gifts. They, alone, reap good things from the good things they have sown. Ps 31:19; Re 11:18; Ps 128.

Holistic Blessings

The whole man receives strength through the blessings reserved for those that fear God. Jesus feared God—and that was the reason He “was heard.”

[Jesus] in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, . . . was heard in that he feared eulabia; Heb 5:7

Our audience with God is guaranteed on the same condition. Is 66:2; Ne 1:11. Every need is supplied. Ps 34:9. Our desires are fulfilled; our prayers answered. Ps 145:9. We are happy and filled with gladness. Ps 128:4; Ps 119:74.

Even our social needs are met as we receive honor from men, special attention from the minister and warmest fellowship among others that have a like-fear of God. Ps 15:4; Ac 13:16, 26: Ps 66:16; Ps 119:63; Ps 22:25; Mal 3:16; Pr 22:4. Even the familial needs of spousal affirmation and praise come to her that fears the Lord. Pr 31:30.

The families of those that fear God are made “fruitful.” The children in such homes are precious and mighty through God. Those that fear God joy to see their grandchildren. Their church family prospers. Ps 128; 112:1-2.

Our minds are blessed with the great gain of contentment. Pr 15:16; Pr 19:23. They are settled on a coming triumph. Is 66:5. They alone have true security in their acceptance with God. Ac 10:35. They find pleasure in obedience. Ps. 112:1. They have motive power in their work of evangelism. 2Co 7:1.

In short:

Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear yareh God, which fear yare before him: Ec 8:12

 

O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear yare me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! De 5:29

What blessings! What heavenly allurement to fear God! Let us understand and practice such a virtue as will bring truest riches!

And let us return again to the severity of God on them that fall—on those that do not fear God. There is a relation between the goodness and the severity. The fear of God moves men to an obedience that is “for our good always, that he might preserve us alive,” De 6:24. Where the fear, the heavenly preservative, is lacking corruption sets in.

The first chapter of Proverbs speaks of men who cry to God in their troubles. Ironically, they paid no attention to God when He had earlier sent counsel their direction. They lacked the fear of God. God responds that He will not help them in their current distress. Why not? “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear yir-ah of the LORD:” Pr 1:29. See Pr 13:13.

The fear of God, like faith in Him, is a relation to the Word of God. Both faith and fear take God’s Word as authoritative, powerful, and sovereign. They are both acts of the will (see the word ‘choose’ in Pr 1:29 above). They are the same article under different heads.

This is why many of the blessings reserved for those that “fear God” are the same as for those counted righteous by faith. It is also the reason that the Old Testament, with only a few references to words like “faith” and “believe”, has so many men of faith listed in Hebrews 11. They were the men that feared God.

The New Testament does not abandon the term “Fear of God” in favor of the phrase “Faith in God.” They have a place side by side. The former highlights the solemn realities and the latter the brighter prospects. But they are one and the same—living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

And the New Testament reveals that a time of judgment, yea, even thoughts of a future judgment, should occasion godly fear.

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 1Pe 1:17

Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: Re 14:7

Why should judgment inspire godly fear in those that gladly say “Jesus is my Judge”? Because His judgment is not so lenient as many gladly tell themselves.

He sent a lion to tear the Samaritans that worshipped Him and “feared” Him while cherishing various other gods. 2Ki 17:25-41. Jesus struck Miriam with leprosy when she allowed ill feelings for her brother—God’s prophet—to spill out of her mouth in disrespectful language. God asked her “Wherefore then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” Nu 12:8.

Before the plague on Miriam, the plagues on Pharaoh followed hard on his deficiency in the fear of the Lord. Ex 9:30. Seven more plagues are coming on those that do not fear Jesus now. Revelation15 is the introduction to those plagues.

Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues. Re 15:4-6.

Jesus reinforced the call to godly fear with a barrage of curses in Deuteronomy 28 (see verse 58). Later He reinforced it with a reminder of the lethal and eternal character of God’s judgments.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matt 10:28

Paul taught that men partaking of the Lord’s Supper without proper respect for the emblems of Christ were in grave danger. Many of them had already died and others were already sick. 1Cor. 11:30. Jude speaks of this class as those that “feed themselves without fear.” Jude 1:12.

Those who take Communion lightly ought to reflect solemnly on the consequences of neglecting to fear God. The saved thief challenged the other thief to consider the judgment by calling him to “fear God.” Lu 23:40.

This way of thinking, this mode of consideration that keeps the judgment in view, belongs particularly to those in our age. We are the ones that live at the time of harvest and of the Latter Rain. This should lead us to fear God.

Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence . . .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 5:22-25

Two final observations: First, Job’s story is written to illustrate the quality of fear that is commended by God. Job 1:1. For this reason he became a spectacle to men and angels. God pointed out his godly fear to Satan in the first instance of Satan’s direct appearance in scripture. Job 1:6-8; 2:3. Satan countered the idea that Job’s fear was principled. Job 1:9. God proved to the universe that it was. Here is the last generation in microcosm.

Second: Revelation, the book, presents worship as the final issue in the struggle between good and evil. There are 22 occurrences of the word worship (in all its forms) in its 22 chapters. In Revelation 14:7, quoted earlier, the command to “fear God” precedes the command to “worship Him.” This is the order appropriate for the commands. In the final struggle over worship God supports the side that fears Him.

What does this mean for the first omens of the struggle as they exist in our church today? Bible passages on the fear of God teach plainly that worship should be conducted with solemn realities in view. David wrote “in thy fear will I worship.” Ps 5:7. Those in God’s presence, those bringing offerings, should remember that He “ought to be feared.” Ps 76:11.

His Name must not be taken lightly. Unlike the names of ministers, it is “holy and reverend.” Ps 111:9. The word “reverend” is the same translated fear or fearful elsewhere. So, in regard to worship and the place of worship and the time of worship:

God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. Ps 89:7

And he was afraid yare, and said, How dreadful yare is this place ! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. Ge 28:17

Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence [fear] my sanctuary: I am the LORD. Le 19:30  and 26:2.

Ministers of the Lord are to be honored as becomes servants of the Most High God. They are to be received as ambassadors of the heavenly kingdom. Jos 4:14; 1Ki 3:28. The Corinthians modeled appropriate worshipful responses to the message of one of God’s spokesmen. The combination of zeal, repentance, godly trembling fear and earnest desire characterized their reception of the messenger. 2 Cor. 7:11, 15.

In summary, worship in God’s house, of God’s name, under the instruction of God’s messengers, at times in conjunction with the Communion table, is the place to humble one’s self in His presence. Fear God and worship Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.

Bible Study: Re 14:6; Pr 2:1-5; Ps 130:3-4; Ps 4:4; Pr 19:23; 16:6; Ex 20:20.

For the Word Document: Dan_6_-_FEAR_GOD

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