The Fear of the Lord
The Fear of the Lord
I'm realizing lately that I have not sufficiently wrestled with Jesus' words in Matthew 24:21-22:
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”
(Matthew 24:21-22 NKJV)
Jesus made such an alarming statement - there has never been a more difficult time in history and there will never be a time more intense and dramatic than what is coming. He's saying it's greater than the global effects of all of the world wars, and will include pestilence, fearful sighs from heaven, demonic powers raging at levels never seen before, and the earth being shaken like it never has before. It's so easy to "romanticize" and just gloss over these things, either thinking that we will be removed from the situation or completely protected in the midst of it.
In the days of Noah we can find similarities to the coming hour, but it is not sufficient to describe them completely. In Noah’s day, it had never rained before and there were never any boats. There was nothing to compare the flood to. But Noah acted in godly fear, saying “I don’t know what a boat or rain is, but I do know your voice.” Noah obeyed God for 120 years despite the accusation and revilement of his neighbors and even some of his own family. What Noah did made no sense before it started to rain. He went from being the most foolish man to the wisest man on the planet when the rain began.
According to Luke 21:26, fear will be the predominant emotion gripping the hearts of men in the coming days. In the way that Noah was moved by godly fear, I want to be gripped with the fear of the Lord more than the fear of the events of the end-times. Satan seeks to overcome us first with fear. Why? He knows that fear opens the door in a person’s life to many compromises. Many will worship the Antichrist out of fear of lacking life resources.
“The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread.”
(Isaiah 8:13 NKJV)
Do we really have a plan to live with urgency and focus, storing up the "oil of intimacy" in our hearts so that when the great Day comes upon us, we will be prepared with confidence in our spirit? The great exhortation of Jesus is not to store up water, soup, and guns, but to simply "watch and pray".
We need the fear of the Lord to grip us at an entirely new level.