Have you ever been spending time in God’s word and worshiping at home and felt the tangible presence of God, like you could reach out and touch it as it manifested before your senses? I have had such beautiful encounters with the real presence of God in corporate worship settings, but at home my worship and devotional life was difficult roller coaster. The word was at times life-giving and other times dry. My worship was empty and other times intimate, and my prayers, though often emotional, were sometimes draining. I truly loved God, but He recently showed me that I had lost hold of true respect and reverence for Him. In other words, I forgot, or perhaps never truly knew, what it really means to fear the Lord.
I’m by no means going to take credit for what I have learned. It wasn’t a revelation God gave me in my personal Bible study, but it was a revelation God gave me through the ministry of John Bevere. I recently received a free download from his ministry for some sermons, and the one I listened to was titled What is the Fear of the Lord? Following are some quotes that stood out from the message:
You will never find God in an atmosphere where He is not held with the utmost of respect… You can’t come into the presence of God without reverential fear.
Fear is not to be scared of God…The person who fears God doesn’t say, “How close can I get to the line of disobedience and not fall in?” The person who fears God says, “I want to be so far away from that line you can’t even see it!”… The first definition of the fear of God is to be terrified to be away from Him.
When we venerate Him like this, we will end up embracing His heart. We will love what He loves and hate what He hates… Don’t tell me you fear God if you don’t absolutely love people because He is in love with people.
What is the manifestation of somebody who truly fears God? The Bible says they will tremble at His word. What does it mean to tremble at His word? It means we will obey God instantly. It means we will obey Him even if it doesn’t make sense… It means we will obey Him even if it hurts. It means we will obey Him even if we don’t see a benefit… It means we will obey Him to completion.
“The secrets of the Lord are with those who fear him…” (Psalms 25:14). Who do you share your secrets with, acquaintances or intimate close friends? God is no different; God says, “I share my secrets with my intimate close friends, and by the way my intimate close friends are those who fear me.” The New Living says it this way, “Friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who fear him.”
You know how some people say, “Well you know the Lord has been dealing with me now about this for several months,” and they laugh about it? …. You are bragging about your lack of the fear of God.
As the sermon finished, I felt this quickening in my spirit and this deep-welled desire to have the kind of intimate relationship with God that Abraham and Moses had. In Bevere’s message, he addressed the fact that the only two people in the Old Testament that were called friends of God and truly exemplified what it takes to have a relationship and friendship with the Lord were these two pillars of faith, and Bevere made a clear connection that this was because they had such a healthy fear of the Lord. Looking only at Abraham for a moment, the fact that he left the very next morning with instant obedience to sacrifice his son, shows how he feared God more than anything in the world. When you fear God, you obey him instantly.
I put on an instrumental album called Soak by New Life Worship, and instantly I was standing over my sink (I was doing dishes) crying as my senses became keenly aware of the presence of God around me. I uttered a small prayer, “God teach me to fear you.” Just moments later, I was weeping on the floor as I felt such a strong presence of the Lord in my living room. I was overcome with emotion, and all I could do was humbly weep and pray in the spirit. Then, God revealed to me an area where I have been flat-out not following the instructions and guidance he had given me over a month ago. He gave me direction and clear instruction, and still I simply didn’t find the time to listen with my actions. Then the cry of repentance oozed out on my living room floor.
This morning, though I desperately wanted to stay in bed, I got out of bed early enough to spend time in the word and in worship before interceding for my loved ones, just like God instructed me to do. I worshiped Him first and fixed my eyes on Him before engaging the enemy. He reminded me that he has all my days written in his book (Psalms 139:16), and my heart felt a renewed trust in His master plan for my life, even if it doesn’t involve teaching at the school I want.
Then, as I was just feeling ready to transition from a position of listening and learning from God to a position of battle, a song came on from the que. As I heard the introduction to Mighty to Save, identifying it in my mind instantly, I became overwhelmed with the message: My God is mighty to save, and they are not unable to be saved. Suddenly, the discouragement that had kept me from interceding for my loved ones lifted as I felt breakthrough in my worship and intercession, and I felt hope as I sensed yet again a tangible presence of God fill my heart and my home.