"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid." Isaiah 29:13,14
What ever happened to the Fear of the Lord? We have plenty of "God is Love" messages, but where are those old fashioned messages that brought a generation of sinners to their knees?
These days, those old hellfire and brimstone preachers are out of favor. We've opted for a kinder, gentler Gospel because we don't want to offend anyone. Far be it from us to use fear tactics to scare anyone out of Hell. Oh no, we're much more sophisticated than that today. Our seminaries have given us a much nicer way to minister to lost souls. We just have to "love on them" and they will come to the Cross.
They may come to the Cross alright, but are they coming with Holy Ghost conviction pleading with God to save their souls from the fires of Hell, or are they merely coming with an application to join a heavenly country club? Theological scholasticism has castrated the Gospel with it's sophisticated approach, and has turned the fear of God into "awesome respect". We're told that we shouldn't approach God with fear and trembling anymore because God is our Daddy, and He really loves us.
What a nice, soothing message that is! We don't have to fear Him anymore; just love on Him and that will be enough.
But is that what we have learned from the Word of God or from our TV sets?
Moses feared God so much that his knees smote together. David, the apple of God's eye, feared God so much that he said, "My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments." The prophets said to let Him be your dread. And if you are thinking that is just the Old Testament speaking, Paul said that, "knowing the terror of the Lord, we therefore persuade men." "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". "Tremble at His Word". (When's the last time you trembled at God's Word?)
How few of today's preachers still preach that? Where are the men of power and authority that once thundered across the pulpits of America? All I hear are the fading echoes lost in the sweet refrains of blessings and prosperity. Somehow we've moved on to a new message of the Good Ship Lollipop.
The Bible says that the fear of God is wisdom. If you do not fear God from the bottom of your heart, then all you can hope for is a wisdom that is superficial at best - skin deep and no more. Without a walk in the depths of that holy fear, the light from God's Word becomes dim and you cannot see clearly. So we stumble about and grasp the first thing that feels good.
It takes real power in God to preach the Fear of God, and it cannot be brought forth across the pulpit without it. It is a strong message that takes a man or woman of God who walks in it to deliver it in the power of the Holy Spirit. How few of our preachers have that kind of power! There are a lot of wonderful pastors who love their congregations and work hard to shepherd them, but it takes more than that to walk in the authority of God and preach the Fear of God in power. It takes the fear of God itself to do that. What we have in it's place, however, is a fear of God that is "taught by the precept of men" - in other words, in name only, a toothless paper tiger.
Only when we get back to our Biblical roots will we be able to return to a Gospel of power -- not a Hollywood production of entertainment or a set of theological lectures, but the real, honest-to-God, old fashioned, Heaven sent, Holy Ghost revival that we have traded in a long time ago for a "feel good" message that is much more soothing and conciliatory. Only when we come to a place of deep repentance fueled by the fear of God will we see the Church stand up in the glory of God and exercise her right and her strength as the true Light of the World.
Until then, all we will have is church.
"Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits" Isaiah 30:8-10
Brother Dale, firstname.lastname@example.org