Thought for the Week - 9th December

Pastor Gareth Watkins
Genesis 31: 41-49

41 Thus I have been in your house twenty years; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times.

42 Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”

43 And Laban answered and said to Jacob, “These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and this flock is my flock; all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these my daughters or to their children whom they have borne?

44 Now therefore, come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.”

45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar.

46 Then Jacob said to his brethren, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there on the heap.

47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed.

48 And Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me this day.” Therefore its name was called Galeed,

49 also Mizpah, because he said, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from another.

The story of Jacob is an incredible one. It’s an incredible story of trust, faith in God, sin, deceit etc. It shows all manner of humanity of the people involved. Some churches decide to render these stories as fables, written for children in Sunday school. We consider it truth. God is showing us something within these truths, of these real people. God is bringing it to our attention for us to acknowledge Him with His faithfulness, His forgiveness, His desire to bless us, His protection, and His provision. All manner of things are held within this actual story of Jacob and Isaac before him.

I want to focus on verse 42 in particular and the fear of Isaac, or as it says in the New Living Translation “the fear of the God of Isaac”:

42 Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”

What part of us responds to God by way of fear? Is God to be feared by us?

Jacob is one of the patriarchs and the founding fathers of Christianity, whom the family of Christ came through. If he’s speaking the truth, and it’s recorded for us by way of truth, then surely there’s something in there by the way of the right fear of God.

In 2018 we’re all quite knowledgeable. Are we to be fearful of God in any way, or are we so full of ourselves that we don’t need to fear anything?

Here we have a scripture that refers to a fear that should be a right held fear, held by those men of old. Should it be held by us in 2018? I would say the answer is yes, and it depends on the way we look at it. We’re not to put our own slant on it and put the word fear in the wrong context.

Is it right to have a fear of God? Is it correct? Most people don’t even care about God anymore. I heard someone blaspheming this week, who didn’t have a clue about what they were doing. There was no thought or a fear to hold them in check. That’s how most people think towards God. They don’t consider Him and they don’t want to know. Yet, this man all those years ago, feared God.

Who’s our great example of how to live a Christian life? Christ Himself. Did Jesus fear God?

Isaiah 11: 1-3

1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord…

What an incredible scripture. Jesus Christ had a type of fear toward God. It makes you wonder what type of fear that is. There are many types of fear. This passage describes something the Holy Spirit would bring to Christ – the spirit of God, the spirit of wisdom, spirit of understanding, spirit of counsel and might, but also the spirit of fear of the Lord.

His delight is in the fear of the Lord. His delight is not in the might and the majesty and the power, but in the fear of the Lord.

These things were imparted to Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Yet, He’s part of God. The Holy Spirit is part of God. All of these three are one, and yet are also working independently and autonomously. The Holy Spirit is bringing something to Jesus of God. That fear of God was in Jesus Christ. And if Christ needed to know this spirit of the fear of God, which the world doesn’t know, surely it’s important for us? Jacob right through to Jesus, and right through to people in the New Testament, talk of the fear of the Lord.

If you have no fear of God in your circumstance, you need to look at yourself. If you have no fear towards God in any kind of way, you have a hard heart, sinful state, or blind eyes. Something is going on within you and something needs to be fixed. It’s right to have a kind of fear towards God. God is awesome. He creates life, He takes life away, and He is in charge of all things. Who are we, in the light of humanity and everyone who’s ever lived, to not have any fear at all?

Fear is in the centre of Jesus Christ. It’s in Isaac and it’s in Jacob.

Hebrews 5: 7-8

7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear,

8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

Jesus Christ was heard by God because of something within Him called the fear of God. God heard Him because of that aspect of His nature. What happened to Jesus when He came down from part of the Godhead to earth and had to embrace humanity? God had to come by way of the Holy Spirit so He could have a relationship with Him once again. Jesus had to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had to impart parts of Himself into Jesus that He would be able to minister and be the son of God on earth. And yet we can be flippant and not care!

Some things are precious to God and we are touching things that are holy. There’s a right place to be fearful in some aspects of those things.

Jesus was heard by God because of His obedience and His Godly fear. And yet He was His son. He learned obedience by the things He had to suffer. He had to go through a process.

If I was to partly describe that type of fear: imagine you’re going up a very mountain via narrow path. There’s only room for one foot in front of another. You’re climbing up and up and up. There’s rocks and waves crashing at the side of you. You’re very careful of your footing because the path isn’t strong. You keep on ascending. The rocks below you are getting further away and you can see across the sea. It’s wonderful.

As you go up, one small step wrong and you’ll fall down. You’ll fall right down onto the rocks. No one will be able to save you. Yet, at the same time you can look around and see beautiful scenery, with wide views of the sea and the forest. Yet one wrong step and you’ll fall down.

In that place there is fear. We have to watch our steps, lest we fall. Spiritually, God allows us to climb onto higher and higher places, but we need to watch ourselves. That we don’t get full of ourselves, look at others, or do other things. We have to be careful not to mess up. Here is a fear there that belongs to God. There’s a wonderful feeling but we cannot fall. We cannot mess around.

In life I’ve known people along that path who’ve known high places in God. There’s a time when the playing around and messing around stops. They know a unique place in God, way beyond the starting point where they find Christ as saviour and are redeemed. They’ve gone way on to a special place that God has taken them to, where God is so rich and the strength and anointing of God comes. They know they have to behave very circumspectly. There is a fear of God there. You can’t mess about with the things of God.

The fear of God is not a natural fear like climbing a ladder, or a soldier going into battle. A Godly fear isn’t a demonic fear. God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. It’s not a religious fear that’s put on someone, where you’re afraid not to pay a priest in case he doesn’t bless your house. It’s not a fear of man. This is a right fear, which God has put in place for us to know Him, respect Him, and walk properly before Him. It’s a correct, Godly fear.

A right Godly fear produces something within us. A right Godly fear took Jesus to the cross. What does it produce in us?

  • Peace in your heart no matter your circumstances – He’s promised never to leave you or forsake you.
  • Obedience to Him.
  • Direction for our path. God has a plan and purpose for your life.
  • Blessing.
  • Understanding.
  • Increase.
  • A desire for Him.
  • A desire to do His will.
  • To put Him in a preeminent position in our lives.

A right Godly fear enables us to climb spiritual heights. It allows us to go to higher spiritual places, even if it’s a bit fearful at times. If we keep our eyes on Him, we won’t be dashed on the rocks. We’ll be in wonderful places in God we never knew existed. He will look after us on that path.

Yes, we’ll be held in a type of fear – a right type of Godly fear – which will hold us in the right place, being blessed.

Think of where you stand in terms of the right fear of God. If you’re not certain, question God of it. Don’t forget it. There’s a rightness in that proper fear towards God.


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