The fear of God is directly connected with obedience. When Abraham was about to slay his son, Isaac, in obedience to the voice of the Lord, the angel said to him, “Now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Genesis 22:12)
Often, I have heard sincere testimonies that go like this: “God spoke to me, but I did not obey.” Or, “One week or one year later, God came and spoke to me again. I still did not obey.” I have also heard, “Then, after a week of arguing with God, I finally gave in and said, ‘Okay, God.’”
These testimonies reveal the lack of the fear of God.
When the mariners on board the ship that was going to Tarshish asked Jonah his occupation, where he had come from and his nationality, Jonah replied, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and dry land” (Jonah 1.9). But his lack of the fear of the Lord was vividly evident by his disobedience to God in not going to the city of Nineveh with the word of the Lord, and by his deliberately going in another direction!
Jonah had to learn through a series of horrifying experiences that the consequences of disobedience are always far harder than the act of obedience, no matter how hard! We always have God’s grace given us to enable us to obey. We come under His judgment when we disobey.
The fear of God is evidenced in our lives by instant, joyful and whole obedience to God. That is biblical obedience. Anything else is disobedience.
- Delayed obedience is really disobedience.
- Partial obedience is disobedience.
- Doing what God has asked with murmuring is disobedience.
[Parents, the best thing you can teach your children at every age is: first-time, cheerful obedience. If you don’t win this battle early, the stakes get much higher as they age. Win this battle and you posture them for a life marked by “instant, joyful, and whole obedience to God.”]
Like all of us who repent of sin, we can then experience the truth of Psalm 130:3-4: “If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.”
The more we take the time to study the character of God from His Word, facet by facet, the more He will reveal Himself to us. The deeper the understanding that we have of His justice, wisdom, faithfulness, and love, the easier it will be for us to obey Him.
*excerpt taken from “Intimate Friendship with God” by Joy Dawson