The Fear of the Lord
God always wants to pour out blessing and grace upon us. The trouble is that we are not always ready to receive it. A gift can only be given if someone opens their hands to receive it. Do we open our hands and hearts to receive the gifts of God? How do we receive blessing and grace from God? This is the question Deacon Ralph Poyo answered for us during Session 3 of Going Deeper (August 12, 2021).
Deacon Ralph explained: “When we have fear of the Lord, we are in a prime position to experience grace, mercy, and blessing from God. Without it, God cannot and will not bless us.” Fear of the Lord enables us to recognize that God is God; we are not; God is Lord; we are not; His will is perfect; ours is not. So when we fear the Lord, we yield our will to His Will. This yielding of our will to His will makes us receptive to the many blessings He wishes to bestow on us.
Deacon Ralph points out four common fears which are not fear of the Lord:
- Natural fear (e.g. fear of heights)
- Demonic/tormenting fear (e.g. constant fear of death)
- Religious fear (e.g. fear of breaking a rule and being punished)
- Fear of men (fear of what other people think of us)
When we fear the Lord, each of these other fears is trustingly yielded to Him. These kinds of fears can enslave us (particularly the demonic fears). Paul tells us in Romans 8:15: “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” This spirit of adoption frees us from the fears that control us and lets us enter into the fear of the Lord–a fear which is the delight of the children of God.
Isaiah 11:1-3 was chosen by Deacon Ralph to highlight the joy of those who know the fear of the Lord:
“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.” (Emphasis mine).
This passage is a prophecy about Jesus–his delight is the fear of the Lord! When we fear the Lord, we can become one with Jesus who always yields His Will to the Father’s Will. And in doing so, we will receive all of the blessings the Father has for His only begotten Son.
Deacon Ralph’s teaching has led me to a prayer like this. It may help you too:
Father, I am ruled by many fears. I give them all to you. Please take them from me and give me instead the grace of fearing You, of trusting you, of living in your Will. You are holy and loving and perfect. I give you my will. Please give me Yours. Let me live in Your Will; let me never separate myself from You and the blessings you want to give me.
Please join us for our next Going Deeper via Zoom on Thursday, September 9.