We have been focusing on the great biblical theme of the FEAR OF GOD. We have emphasized that the fear of God lies at the very heart of true religion. The true Christian is the man who in all his life manifests a profound reverential and holy fear of God. Since it has been some time ago that we wrote, let us review some of the main elements of the fear of God. To fear God means first of all that we know God according to who and what He is: that He is the absolutely Sovereign God of heaven and earth, the God of infinite power and greatness. He is the God of perfect holiness and righteousness. He is the God Who blesses the righteous with everlasting favor and Who condemns the wicked unto eternal damnation. To fear God in the proper sense of the word means that we know this God as our God. We know that His name is Jehovah, Who is the gracious and merciful covenant God of His people in Christ Jesus. The fear of God implies a profound consciousness of the fact that this God is everywhere present. Our whole life is lived before Him, and every moment of our days we have to do with Him. He knows our downsitting and our uprising, He understands our thoughts afar off, He is acquainted with all our ways. To fear God is ever to keep Him before our consciousness, it is to know Him, to remember Him, and never to forget Him. The fear of God implies further a deep spiritual understanding of the holy and righteous requirements of such a God Who is our God. It is to know how awesome it is that He Who is the absolutely holy God demands that we also be holy. It is to know that our holy God has chosen us to be a peculiar people and a royal priesthood and an holy nation. To fear God means that we with fear and trembling consider that God commands of us that we love Him with all our heart and all our soul and all our strength and all our mind. This is the righteous command of the sovereign Lord Who has the right and power to punish the transgressor of the law and bless those who walk in His law. To fear God is to know that for us by nature it is entirely impossible to keep the law of God. To fear God means that we know our God as a God of forgiving mercy. To fear God means that we are conscious of the fact that from moment to moment we are not consumed in the holy anger of the Lord only because of His mercy and His faithfulness. Every moment of our life we are wholly dependent on His grace to sustain us, His Holy Spirit to guide us, and His almighty power to keep us from falling.
We intend now to consider what it means to fear God in some of the specific areas of our life. Fundamental to all of our life is of course the sphere of our home. We would like to consider this sphere of the fear of God in this present article and the next. The fear of God must be the all pervasive and predominant characteristic of, our home. When men look at our homes they must above all say concerning us, “Behold how they fear God!” In our homes we must begin each day anew in the fear of God. In our homes our children must learn by our words and our examples what it means to fear God. Our children must grow up with, above all, one deep and profound impression of their father and mother and that is how they feared God.
We could not possibly make mention even of all of the passages of scripture that speak directly of how we must fear God in our homes. We shall be able to pay attention only to a few in the course of this article and the next. One thinks immediately of the very familiar and beautiful Psalm 128, Have you ever paid special attention to the fact that all which this Psalm says proceeds from the first verse where we read, “Blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord, that walketh in His ways.” How beautiful is the versification of this Psalm that is found in our Psalters:
Blest the man that fears Jehovah, walking ever in His ways;
By thy toil thou shah be prospered and be happy all thy days.
In thy wife thou shalt have gladness, she shall fill thy home with good,
Happy in her loving service and the joys of motherhood.
Joyful children, sons and, daughters, shall about thy table meet,
Olive plants, in strength and beauty, full of hope and promise sweet.
Lo, on him that fears Jehovah shall this blessedness attend,
For Jehovah out of Zion shall to thee His blessing send.
Thou shalt see God’s kingdom prosper all thy days, till life shall cease,
Thou shalt see thy children’s children; on thy people, Lord, be peace.
One could easily write a single and lengthy article on just how this Psalm describes the significance of the fear of Jehovah for the home. Above all it emphasizes that only the home where there is the fear of Jehovah is truly happy and blessed. Without the fear of God our homes will have on them only the wrath and displeasure of God. Men, of course, from the time of the fall have tried very hard to establish a home without the fear of God and pursued the objective of having a happy and blessed home without the fear of Jehovah. This, however, is impossible. Only the home that-is established in the fear of God and continues in the fear of Jehovah will be blessed. That home will be truly blessed with the blessing of Jehovah God. Notice what the Psalm says of the prosperity of the labors that are done in. a home of the God-fearing. Notice what the Psalm says concerning the place and blessedness of the wife and mother in the home of those who fear God. Notice what the psalm says about the blessedness of children in that home. Listen to what the Psalm says about seeing the prosperity of Zion and the kingdom of God and peace upon Israel. All of this proceeds from the home of the God-fearing. Study what the Psalm says concerning the significance of the fear of Jehovah and seeing our children’s children, the generations of the covenant. All of this proceeds from the fear of Jehovah mentioned in verse one. How important is the fear of Jehovah for our homes and what blessedness attends it!
Another striking and familiar passage of scripture which speaks directly to our subject is the passage inDeuteronomy 6. In verses 1 and 2 we read, “Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: that thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.” It is clear that the word of God is speaking particularly here of the fear of God in the home. This becomes even more clear when we read verses 7 through 9: “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Then we are told how fearful and awesome this whole matter is in verses 12 through 15. We are told of the unspeakably terrible consequences of forsaking the fear of Jehovah in our homes. “Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him, and shalt swear by His name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.” We know the history of Israel and the fulfillment of this prophecy; we know the terrible consequences which Israel obtained when they forsook the fear of Jehovah. How important is the fear of God in our homes! How awful it would be if the prophecy of this book would be fulfilled in and with us and our children because we forsook the fear of Jehovah.
Let us consider some of the general principles of the fear of the Lord as they apply to our homes. That we fear God in our homes means that God truly lives in our homes. He is known in our homes. He lives in the conscious life of the members of the home, in their heart and in their soul. It is known in the morning that God is there, it is known throughout the whole day that God is there, it is known in the evening that God is there. The Sovereign, Almighty, Holy, Righteous, True, and Faithful God dwells in the midst of the home of the God-fearing. In all that takes place in our homes we have to do with our God. He knows and sees all that goes on in our home. The members of the God-fearing home seek God and His favor as the highest good and blessedness possible for man to attain unto. When decisions are made in the home of the God-fearing, God is consulted. When prosperity comes to the home of the God-fearing, there is an overflowing of thanksgiving to God. When adversity comes in this home it is recognized as the hand of God, and the mercy and goodness and faithfulness of God is relied upon. When there is sin in the home, then the members of that home fall down on their knees to plead for the forgiving mercy of God. When there is fear or danger, suffering or sorrow in the home of the God-fearing the first thing that is done is that the name of God is called upon.
Concretely all of this means of course that in the God-fearing home the Word of God is ever an open book. It is carefully studied. It is faithfully explained. It is inconceivable that a single day could go by without the opening of the holy scriptures. The Word of God is studied not merely as a book of abstract doctrine, or merely as a history book recounting the history of the people of God of old. The Word of God is studied as it is the wonderful living revelation of God. The Word of God is studied as the book that reveals God and His Son Jesus Christ Whom to know is life eternal. From the precious pages of the scriptures the God-fearing home learns more and more profoundly how wonderful our God is, how holy, how righteous, how true, how faithful, how gracious and merciful. The Word of God is studied as it reveals to us the wonderful covenant of God and tells of His unfailing mercy. The Word of God in the home of the God-fearing is understood as having direct and immediate significance for the day to day life and experience of God’s people in the world. The Word of God is studied as the only absolutely infallible rule for all our faith and life.
The God-fearing home is a house of prayer. God is prayed to in the morning with thanksgiving for His mercies that are new every morning. God is prayed to throughout the day for spiritual guidance and strength against the temptations of the world. It is known in the God-fearing home that father and mother, children and young people, cannot face the trials and temptations of the day without the help of their God. God is prayed to in the evening in recognition that every good and perfect gift of the day has come from Him. Not a day goes by in that home without the sincere humble confession of sin. God is prayed to in the night watches as the God Who never slumbers nor sleeps and Who is the keeper of the souls of His people.
May God grant that our homes are truly God-fearing!