Some time ago, a journalist was interviewing a televangelist who was serving time in prison. He asked the man, “How did you get here? Didn’t you love God?” and the minister said, “Oh, yes, I loved God. I just didn’t fear him.” What happened? And how? David explains in Psalm 36. We’ll consider what “To Fear God Means”
“I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked. There is no fear of God before their eyes. For in their own eyes, they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin. The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they have ceased to act wisely or do good. Even on their beds, they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course and do not reject what is wrong.” – Psalm 36:1-4
To Fear God Means
What is the fear of God? Well, just think about these two things: power and goodness. God’s unmeasured power is the creative force behind the whole universe. Because of his power and goodness, he is holy, meaning utterly unique.
Think about this comparison. The sun is a source of power and goodness. It provides light and life to us and is helpful in our lives. It is utterly unique in the physical world. But, the closer you get, the more intense it becomes. If you get too close, it will destroy you because you are not like the sun. Now think about God. We are impure, so the closer we get to God, the more danger we are in because we are not like him. We can only be near him if we’re pure. So, God gave his one and only son to make way for us to be in his presence. God’s power and goodness are so holy or unique that we should both fear him and be in awe of him.
This sin is the first indicator of how the wicked don’t fear God. When we rationalize our evil behavior, we are like the wicked. We can see it in personal relationships. I have done this before. I could not see myself as evil in this passage. I would say, “Oh, I’m not that bad” or “what I’m doing isn’t that bad.” My vision had become so blurred that I could not see the behavior. And of course, if you can’t see your sin, you can’t hate it.
Lack of Wisdom and Goodness
The non-God fearer is next described as someone who does not speak or act with wisdom or goodness. The words they speak are not only wicked but also deceitful. They aren’t just saying wrong things but are deceiving the listener. The verse also states that they have ceased to act wisely or do good. So, they were at one time doing good and making wise decisions. But this absence of the fear of God enabled terrible behavior.
The last way the wicked act is with premeditation. The wicked are lying in bed at night, thinking about what they will do wrong and how. They are committing to sin instead of good. And, because of sin, they are not willing to reject any wrongdoing.
To Fear God Means… To Love His Word
So, you may not end up in prison like the minister, but I can guarantee you will end up somewhere you did not want to go. In this passage, you can see the wicked choosing sin over God. Many do not realize, though, that every intentional act of disobedience leads us farther away from God. Fear God. Love His Word.