THE LORD’S GREATEST TREASURE
The Lord Jesus Christ asked, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). The prophet Isaiah declared: “…the fear of the LORD is his treasure” (Isaiah 33:6). The most blessed and beneficial of all the LORD’S treasures regarding the salvation of men’s souls is the fear of the LORD!
BLESSINGS OF THE FEAR OF THE LORD
The following scriptures emphasize the exceeding great blessings that come upon all them that have the fear of the LORD:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever” (Psalm 111:10).
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
“The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility” (Proverbs 15:33).
“The fear of the LORD is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28). And “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” (Proverbs 16:16).
“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9).
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).
“The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened” (Proverbs 10:27; Ephesians 6:1-2).
“The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil” (Proverbs 19:23).
“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:26-27).
“Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith” (Proverbs 15:16).
“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life” (Proverbs 22:4).
ADDITIONAL REASONS TO FEAR THE LORD
It is a great treasure within every believer — The apostle Paul declared “unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia” (2Corinthians 1:1): “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2Corinthians 4:6-7; 7:15; 1Corinthians 2:3).
The mystery which was hid from ages and from generations “now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:25-27); and in Christ “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:1-3).
Therefore, in the apostle’s letter “to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (Philippians 1:1) we read: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 6:5-6)!
We are commanded to fear without ceasing — Moses spoke to the children of Israel, and said: “…the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:10); “And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day” (Deuteronomy 6:24). Solomon commanded his son: “Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long” (Proverbs 23:17).
The Lord commands all men to fear him for their good! — Moses commanded Israel “to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day” (Deuteronomy 6:24; 10:20; Joshua 24:14; 1Samuel 12:24). God’s word commands: “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:7-8); and: “Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalm 33:8). Therefore the faithful psalmist prayed to the LORD: “Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear” (Psalm 119:38).
King Solomon, “the Preacher” (Ecclesiastes 12:10), wrote: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). The righteous fear God and keep his commandments. They are not like those among the Samaritans who “feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence” (2Kings 17:32-33).
To receive God’s mercy — “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him” (Psalm 103:11).
The fear of the Lord is taught and understood by the word of God — David wrote: “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD” (Psalm 34:11). And his son Solomon wrote: “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1-5).
The LORD commanded, when the king of Israel “sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).
Moses commanded the priests to read the law to all the people every seven years, “that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it” (Deuteronomy 31:9-13; 2Kings 17:28). That his people may escape the Lord’s fearful judgment — The psalmist declared: “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments” (Psalm 119:120).
The apostle declared to believers: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:26-31).
To escape the LORD’S chastening — Moses commanded the children of Israel: “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him” (Deuteronomy 8:5-6).
To bring pleasure to the LORD — All things were created by the Lord for his pleasure (Revelation 4:11); and “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy” (Psalm 147:11).
To worship rightly — David declared: “But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple” (Psalm 5:7).
To serve the LORD according to his will — The word of God commands: “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11). Servants are commanded: “be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;” (Ephesians 6:5-6). Paul wrote to the church at Corinth: “And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling” (1Corinthians 2:3). Paul also wrote to them and said that the inward affection of Titus for them “is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him” (2Corinthians 7:14-16).
To receive the LORD’S goodness — “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” (Psalm 31:19).
To prove your love for the LORD — Regarding a false prophet who would entice them to go after other gods to serve them, Moses told the children of Israel: “Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him” (Deuteronomy 13:1-4).
To understand secrets — “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant” (Psalm 25:14).
To remain under God’s special care and protection — “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine” (Psalm 33:18-19). Furthermore: “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him” (Psalm 34:7-9; 85:9). To receive the LORD’S pity (Psalm 103:13) and his great everlasting mercy, “and his righteousness unto children’s children” (Psalm 103:17, 11; Luke 1:50).
To obtain spiritual comfort — “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied” (Acts 9:31).
To perfect holiness — “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2Corinthians 7:1).
Fear not man — The fear of men is a curse (Jeremiah 17:5-6). David, a man after God’s own heart (1Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), declared: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me” (Psalm 56:3-4); and again, David wrote: “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me” (Psalm 56:11). Another psalmist declared: “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6). The Lord Jesus commanded his disciples: “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” (Matthew 10:28).
The wicked choose not to fear the LORD — To the man who refuses to regard the counsel and reproof of the word of God, the LORD says: “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof” (Proverbs 1:24-30).
When God roots the wicked out of the land of the living, “The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness” (Psalm 52:1-7).
Last word to believers — David said: “The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes…” (Psalm 36:1-2). The Lord prophesied, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2Timothy 3:13). It is obvious to believers in these last days that perilous times have come (2Timothy 3:1), for there are many that hate God and certainly do not fear him! May the Lord teach us to fear him that we might enjoy the great benefits that result from the fear of the LORD.
Last word to unbelievers — Unbelievers are “condemned already” (John 3:18-19). If you are an unbeliever, I hope that you will read the gospel according to John, which was written “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). I hope that you will “Fear God, and keep his commandments…” to “Repent” (Acts 17:30), and to “believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ” (1John 3:23), that you will be saved (Acts 16:31) and “escape the damnation of hell” (Matthew 23:33)!