January 12: Fear God
Genesis 21:22–23:20; Matthew 15; Ecclesiastes 5:1–7
In Ecclesiastes 5, the author stops to consider God’s place in the heavens and our place on earth. He acknowledges that there is a great gulf of understanding between who God is and who we think He is. This realization should affect our entire posture before Him.
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God,” he says. “Do not be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth.” Don’t attempt to offer the “sacrifice of fools” with your lips, or even your heart, he adds. Instead, we should come prepared to listen (Eccl 5:1–3).
Coming to God ready to listen doesn’t mean neglecting to bring our troubles or needs before Him. He wants us to do this—but not rashly. Rather, we should offer acknowledgement that He guides our lives. Like Rachel and Leah, in Genesis 30, we may sometimes use God to justify the pursuit of our own goals, rather than seek wisdom and guidance from Him.
It’s an awesome thing to think that this very God who should be approached with such humility and reverence left His place in heaven and came down to earth. This God, who is so beyond our own comprehension, has chosen to dwell in us with His Spirit. The mighty God who rules heaven, earth, and the cosmos, and who breaches all understanding, has chosen to reveal Himself to sinners like us.
What is your attitude towards God?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- And at the same time Abimelech and Phichol his chief captain spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest. Now therefore swear unto me here by God, that thou wilt not hurt me, nor my children, nor my children’s children: thou shalt deal with me, and with the country where tho hast been a stranger: according unto the kindness that I have showed thee. Then Abraham said, I will swear. And Abraham rebuked Abimelech for a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away. And Abimilech said, I know not who hath done this thing: also thou toldest me not, neither heard I of it but this day. Then Abraham took sheep and beeves, and gave them unto Abimelech: and they two made a covenant. And Abimilech set seven lambs of the flock by themselves. Then Abimilech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven lambs, which thou hast set by themselves? And he answered, Because thou shalt receive of mine hand these seven lambs, that it may be a witness unto me, that I have dug this well. Wherefore the place is called Beersheba, because tere they both swear. This made they a covenant at Beersheba: afterward Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain rose up, and turned again unto the land of the Philistines. And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the Name of the Lord, the everlasting God. And Abraham was a stranger in the Philistine’s land a long season. And after these things God did prove Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham. Who answered, Here am I. And he said, Take now thine only son Isaac whom thou llovest, and get thee unto the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains, which I will show thee. Then Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his servants with him, and Isaac his son, and clove wood for the burnt offering, and rose up and went to the place, which God had told him. Then the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off, And said unto his servants, Abide you here with the ass: for I and the child will go yonder and worship, and come again unto you. Then Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son, and he took the fire in his hand, and the knife: and they went both together. And when they came to the place which God had showed him, Abraham built an altar there, and couched the wood, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretching forth his hand, took the knife to kill his son. But the Angel of the Lord called unto him from heaven, saying, Abraham, Abraham. And he answered, Here am I. Then he said, Lay not thine hand upon the child, neither do anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing for my sake thou hast not spared thine only son. And Abraham lifting up his eyes, looked and behold, there was a ram behind him caught by the horns in a bush: then Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah Jireh: as it is said this day, In the mount will the Lord be seen. And the Angel of the Lord cried unto Abraham from heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn (saith the Lord) because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thine only son, Therefore will I surely bless thee, and will greatly multiply thy seed, as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore, and thy seed shall possess th gate of his enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of teh earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice. Then turned Abraham again unto his servants, and they rose up, and went together to Beersheba: and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba. And after these things one told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor: To wit, Huz his eldest son, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight did Milcah bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. And his concubine called Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash and Maachah. When Sarah was an hundred twenty and seven years old (so long lived she.) Then Sarah died in Kirjath Arba: the same is Hebron in the lan do fCanaan. And Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. Then Abraham rose up from the sight of his corpse, adn talked withthe Hittites, saying, I am a stranger, and a foreigner among you: give me a possession of burial with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. Then the Hittites answered Abraham, saying unto him, Hear us, my lord: thou art a prince of God among us: in the chiefest of our sepulchers bury the dead: none of us shall forbid thee his sepulcher, but thou mayest bury thy dead therein. Then Abraham stood up, and bowed himself before the people of the land of the Hittites. And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind, that I shall bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, That he would give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath in the end of his field: that he would give it me for as much money as it is worth, for a possession to bury in among you. (For Ephron dwelt among the Hittites) Then Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of all the Hittites that went in at the gates of his city, saying, No, my Lord, hear me: the field give I thee and the cave that therein is, I give it thee: even in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee to bury thy dead. Then Abraham bowed himself before the people of the land, And spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the country, saying, Seeing thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me, I will give the price of the field: receive it of me, and I wil bury my dead there. Ephron then answered Abram, saying unto him, My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver: what is that between me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. So Abraham hearkened unto Ephron, and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named, in the audience of the Hittites, even four hundred silver shekels of current money among merchants. So the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, and over against Mamre, even the field and the cave that was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, which were in all the borders round about, was made sure Unto Abraham for a possession, in the sight of the Hittites, even of all that went in at the gates of his city. And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah over against Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. Thus the field, and the cave that is therein, was made sure unto Abraham for a possession of burial by the Hittites. Genesis 21:22–23:20
- Then came to Jesus the Scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the Elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God hath commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and he that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to Father or mother, By the gift that is offered by me, thou mayest have profit, Thou he honor not his father, or his mother, shall be free: thus have ye made the commandment of God of no authority by your tradition. O hypocrites, Isaiah prophesied well of you, saying, This people draweth near unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with the lips, but their hear is far off from me. But in vain they worship me, teaching for doctrines, men’s precepts. Then he called the multitude unto him, and said to them, Hear and understand. That which goeth into the mouth, defileth not the man, but that which cometh out of the mouth that defileth the man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Perceivest thou not, that the Pharisees are offended in hearing this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant which mine heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone, they be the blind leaders of the blind: and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter, and said to him, Declare unto us this parable. Perceive ye not yet, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth, come from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, slanders. These are the things which defile the man: but to eat with unwashed hands, defileth not the man. And Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman a Canaanite came out of the same coasts, and cried, saying unto him, Have mercy on me, O Lord, the son of David: my daughter is miserably vesed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. Then came to him his disciples, and besought him, saying, Send her away, for she crieth after us. But he answered, and said, I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Yet she came, and worshipped him, saying, Lord help me. And he answered, and said, It is not good to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to whelps. But she said, Truth, Lord: yet indeed the whelps eat of the crumbs, which fall from their master’s table.Then Jesus answered, and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it to thee, as thou desirest. And her daughter was made whole at that hour. So Jesus went away from thence, and came near unto the sea of Galilee, and wen tup in a mountain and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them, halt, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down, at Jesus’ feet, and he healed them. Insomuch that the multitude wondered, to see the dumb speak, the maimed whole, the halt to go, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel. Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on this multitude, becase they have continued with me already three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not let them depart fasting, lest they faint in the way. And his disciples said unto him, Whence should we get so much bread in the wilderness, as should suffice to great a multitude! And Jesus said unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. Then he commandeth the multitude to sit down on the ground. And took the seven loaves, and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were sufficed, and they took up of the fragments that remained, seven baskets full. And they that had eaten, were four thousand men, beside women, and little children. Then Jesussent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the parts of Magdala. Matthew 15
- Be not rash with thy mouth, nor let thine heart be hasty to utter a thing before God: for God is in the heavens, and thou art on the earth: therefore let thy words be few. For as a dream cometh by the multitudes of business: so the voice of a fool is in the multitude of words. When thou hast vowed a vow to God, defer not to pay it: for he delighteth not in fools: pay therefore that thou hast vowed. It is better that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay it. Suffer not thy mouth to make thy flesh to sin: neither say before the Angel, that this is ignorance: wherefore shall God be angry by thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? For in the multitude of dreams, and vanities are also many words: but fear thou God. If in a country thou seest the oppression of the poor, and the defrauding of judgment and justice, be not astonied at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest, regardeth, and there be higher than they. Ecclesiastes 5:1–7