The Fear and Awe of God
1. Tell you in the dark refers to His truth. This truth must emerge in the workings of our life and in the uttering that we proclaim in lifestyles, convictions, and proclamations.
a. We are to learn, grow, and pass on to others what we have learned. Whether we are a pastor or a pew-sitter, we all have the responsibility to proclaim Christ by whatever means, opportunities, or manner in which we have been called and gifted.
b. Jesus taught His disciples the truth--most of which they did not fully understand yet, so it stayed in darkness until after the Light of the resurrection.
c. Dark also refers to night the time of day in which secrets were passed on (Luke 12:3). In the context of Luke, this passage is also a warning that one's confession as well as one's denial of Christ can be reported on these rooftops and is subject to the Judgment of God (Luke 12:1-10).
i. The judgment will bring the deeds of darkness to the Light (Isa. 29:15; 45:16-17).
ii. If you think you can be an undercover Christian, your faith or lack of it will soon be opened up. You cannot stay hidden forever; the truth will emerge. So, there is no point of concealing yourself or the Truth. You may as well declare your faith with passion and conviction and not keep it hidden, since a betrayer or even a slip of the tongue could proclaim it.
d. Flat rooftop is the open upper part of a first century house that is still the preferred architectural style in the Middle East. It is like having a deck on your roof. During the hot summers people would live on top of the home where it is cool. This rooftop acts as an amphitheatre to echo what you say to others around you over the crowed streets. People would use this to present and spread messages to their neighbors, such as the local gossip. It was an excellent platform to give a message and have a public ministry.
2. Fear is how we are to come before God. It is a term of endearment and respect that is supercharged with more meaning and power.
a. This type of fear is not that of being afraid, other than being fearful of God's wrath (Romans 3). It is intense respect, reverence, and awe towards God.
i. Our word for respect is a frail comparison to its Hebrew and Greek equivalent. Thus, "fear" is used instead of "respect" or "reverence" in most English translations.
ii. In Proverbs and other Jewish wisdom literature, the fear of God is a foundational theme.
b. Proverbs tells us that fear of God is the theme of the whole book (1:7; 3:5; 9:10; 31:30; Psalm 111:10).
i. The fear of the LORD is the loving reverence for God that contains our love for Him, embraces our submission to His Lordship of our lives, and causes us to keep His precepts and Word (Ecc. 12: 13).
ii. Fear also means that God is God. He is our King (Mal. 1:14); therefore, we should see Him as our friend (John 14). We also should see Him as Who He is in total character, not just as a friend, but His position and power in the universe, so we will stand in awe of Him and worship Him (Psalm 2:11; Isa. 12:6).
iii. Proverbs tells us the opposite of the fear of God is to be a fool! These are the reprobates in Romans, chapter one, who trust in themselves and not God, who hate knowledge and correction. They seek distortion and destruction of others and themselves. They stir others to strife and contention, the opposite of what we are to do on this earth (Prov. 1:22; 1:31-23; 5:12; 12:1; 14:1; 11; 20:3; 28:26; 29:11)!
c. To fear God is also to be fulfilled and content by being in Him (Job 28:28)!
d. Isaiah develops the theme that the acts of the wicked person will be made clear before God and others (Isa. 8:12-13). A person may kill you physically, but they cannot take your life. Only God has that power, as well as the power over our destiny and eternal state of either punishment or reward.
e. Kill the body is a prelude to an echo of the persecution to come. It is also the mindset that what is most important is not our lives here, but what is waiting in eternity for us.
i. Some Jews, such as the Sadducees, believed that the body and soul were destroyed at death, that this life is all we have.
ii. Some Jewish wisdom literature proclaims that martyrdom is a way of life and there is no fear in it, as we can have self-control and divine reason (4 Maccabees 13:14-15).
iii. Most Jews believed that the body and soul were separated at death. The soul either goes to Sheol, the place of the dead, to be tormented and separated from God (hell), or to Abraham's bosom (heaven.) The Greeks had similar beliefs at this time.
iv. Hell (Gehenna) refers to everlasting torment, whereas Hades refers to the general place of the dead (Matt. 5:22; Mark 9:43-48).
3. Sparrows, refers to the cheapest item sold at the Temple for people to present as a sacrifice. They were even used as food for the poorest of the poor. Two were purchased for an "assarion," a small copper coin equivalent to our penny today, smaller than a mite, denarius or a shekel. It was the pay for less than one hour of work. (Luke 12:6).
a. How much more, is a popular Jewish argument in logic--if God cares for these cheap birds, then… If He cares for the cheap, then He cares for what is worth far more--you!
b. Christ tells us that we are valuable, acceptable, and worthy, a tremendous boost to our self-esteem--or better said, Christ-esteem. A lot of Christian mystics and teachers have proclaimed the worthlessness of man, and that we are of no value or worth. Only Christ is worthy. In a way that is true; only Christ is of true worth. However, that does not mean we are totally worthless. If so, there would have been no reason for Christ to come as a man, and go to the cross on our behalf. We are of value, deeply loved, and acceptable before the Father because of what Christ has done for us!
i. You are a person who is deeply loved by the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. What more do you need to feel good and accepted? No money, fame, or power could ever mach this!
ii. Numbers of hair is the most minimal issue of our lives (regardless of how those of us who are going bald feel!), yet God knows the number. This is further testimony of how God cares for and loves us! This means nothing happens to us without God allowing it and His being in control (1 Sam. 14:45; 2 Sam. 14:11; 1 Kings 1:52).
iii. God is sovereign, and orders everything in the universe, from a sparrow to a king. Therefore, He is worthy to be trusted and feared.
4. Confess me: Even though we were deeply loved, even before the cross or our faith in Him, we will be accountable for our actions and where our trust, faith, and heart have been placed. Will it be in Christ, or in the world?
a. In Jewish traditions, the Day of Judgment will be the testimony of those who were righteous, and those who will bear witness against those who were against God.
b. The mercy of God was a common theme amongst rabbis who taught that angels would plead one's case before God.
c. Jesus is our ultimate Advocate; He will proclaim your case with power, conviction, and in truth. He will either know you or He will not. Jesus' influence before the Father holds more sway than anything else in the universe!
d. Jesus is both the prosecutor and the defense attorney, depending on with whom we sign up--our ways or His (Luke 12:8-9).
20. To fear God is also to be fulfilled and content being in Him. Is this so in your life? Why, or why not? What are the steps you need to take to implement this (See our study on The Character of Contentment)?
© 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com