Google+ 08/26/2013 We Must Fear God!

Malachi 3:16-17

 

Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said.

In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names

Of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name.

“They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

“On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure.

I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child.

 

Today we begin a seven-part devotion series entitled, "Whom Shall I Fear?"  As we have discussed before, improper fear strangles all of us when we serve God.  Often times, God only commands us to "Go" without filling in the rest of the paragraph!  If we are afraid to "Go," we simply don't.  Trying to apply earthly logic to God usually doesn't work at all.  Malachi was a prophet that we know very little about.  Some scholars believe he was actually an angel incarnate.  Others believe he was simply a priest in Jerusalem.  Malachi uses the dialectic style of writing,  which became a very popular form of teaching in later Judaism.  This style of writing and teaching promotes investigation through discussion and reasoning.  Malachi proclaimed that God was so gracious for condescending to answer man's foolish and childish statements.  The purpose of the book of Malachi was to deliver stern rebukes to the people and priests, to call them to repentance, and to promise future blessings from The Almighty.  The central theme of Malachi's writing was God's love for Israel in spite of the sins of the people and priests.  Finally, Malachi is the final book in the Old Testament, delivering God's final message prior to 400 years of silence to the Jewish people.  Malachi tells us that those who have a healthy fear of God will be His children.  On the day of judgment, all of these special children will be spared.  Unfortunately, too many churches preach an unhealthy fear of God.   God is not sitting on a cloud waiting for us to mess up so that He can fire lightning bolts at our heads.  This kind of fear, that many people have, separates us from the love of God.  "Fear tactics," as it applies to God, almost never work.  Every time God has cleansed the earth, there has been great warning to all of His people.  This was true with the Tower of Babble, Noah and the flood, and Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah.  The problem is we just don't listen.  We know the end as God has given us the message through the apostle John in the book of Revelation.  We are told to remove ourselves from Babylon before God destroys it.  God lists, to each of the seven churches, their unhealthy, Babylonian behaviors that must be corrected.  Six of the seven churches simply didn't listen.  As we begin our discussion of healthy and unhealthy fears, we start with God.  Heed His warnings and listen to His teachings through his prophets, apostles, and His Son Jesus Christ.  If we listen carefully and obey, we will understand that in a healthy way, "We Must Fear God!"