Reason to Fear

Michael Beck

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14)

We live in a world of trouble and danger and evil. The fear of what “could” happen is ever-present. We fear for ourselves; we fear for those we love. We fear what others can do to us; we fear what we can do to ourselves. We wish nothing bad would ever happen. We cross our fingers, we knock on wood, we light a candle – all in hope that what we fear will not come upon us.

Jesus didn’t promise His disciples immunity from trouble. No, He promised them the very opposite: “In the world ye shall have tribulation …” (John 16:33) He didn’t promise them that men would never harm them. No, He told them to expect the worst from the hands of men. “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2) But He also told them not to live in dread of what could happen tomorrow. (Matt. 6:34) He told them to replace the fear of man with the fear of God. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28)

To fear God is to hate the evil that God hates. “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” (Prov. 8:13) When we fear God we depart from evil. “… By the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” (Prov. 16:6) Solomon’s quest to understand what was profitable for man to be engaged in while “under the sun” led him to a single conclusion: “Fear God and keep His commandments.” In a world that invites a thousand cares, we need to have this laser focus. At the end of the day, all that matters is that we please God well.

Above all else, let one thing be your chief concern: fear displeasing God. Hate the evil that He hates. Love the righteousness that He loves. Look past this life where anything can happen to an eternity where nothing but good will ever happen. Live in light of that day when “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Eccl. 12:14) It remains a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God if you are a worker of iniquity. (Heb. 10:32; Lk. 13:27) But – “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.” (Prov. 14:26)

Stop knocking on wood. Start fearing God.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.