God has designed three purposes for all Christian marriages (Genesis 1:27-28): to reflect His image, to reign in spiritual warfare, and to reproduce a godly heritage. Without a proper fear of the Lord, not one of these three purposes can be sustained and achieved in the ultimate sense. Many Christians think that the fear of the Lord is just an ancient Old Testament concept that has now been terminated in light of the final New Testament revelation. But this is not so. The New Testament also applies the fear of the Lord to our individual and corporate lives (see Matthew 10:28; Acts 9:31; 2 Corinthians 5:11, 7:1; Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:17). It is to be our normative response to God’s person and work.
So what does the fear of the Lord actually mean? The fear of the Lord does not mean the same thing as being afraid of God and therefore running from Him (see John 3:16; 1 John 4:16-19). Quite the contrary, the fear of the Lord means loving God for all that He is and all that He has done by joyfully giving Him our total allegiance, submission, and obedience. The fear of the Lord does not cause us to run away from Him. It causes us to run to Him!
So what does it mean to experience the fear of the Lord and therefore, as a consequence, His blessing upon our marriages and families? For without the fear of the Lord, His blessing will not rest upon our marriages and families. And His three purposes for our marriages will utterly fail. In Psalm 128, the old and wise King Solomon laid out three foundational truths on the fear of the Lord and how we can experience His blessing upon our marriages and families.
Foundational Truth #1: The blessing of God rests upon those who fear the Lord by walking in His ways (Psalm 128:1):
"How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways."
To begin with, the fear of the Lord means to walk in God’s ways. Each of us in our marriages is on a journey, a walk with God. This is more than just knowing the truth and being able to recite it. It is a personal lifestyle-response to the triune God and His infallible Word. It is to be our normative response to His matchless grace by developing an intimate, personal relationship with Him and following Him in His calling to be His disciples. This alone is where His blessing can be discovered — nowhere else!
Foundational Truth #2: When we fear the Lord, God’s blessing rests upon each of us as individuals, as well as upon our mates and our children (Psalm 128:2-4).
“When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive plants around the table. Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.”
The fear of the Lord is foundational to any blessing of God upon our own lives as well as upon the members of our family. If we are living in the fear of the Lord, all of our efforts and struggles to build a marriage and family that will glorify God will not fall short in the long run. Trusting and obeying God and His Word will always bear a rich and fruitful harvest in our lives and home.
Foundational Truth #3: When we fear the Lord, we can expect God to answer our prayers for His ongoing blessing upon His kingdom people and for our own godly heritage (Psalm 128:5-6):
“May the LORD bless you from Zion, and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Indeed, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!”
The fear of the Lord is also foundational to any expectation that we may have in regard to God answering our prayers for His blessing on us and our godly heritage. God only bestows His blessing, prosperity, and peace on those who diligently seek Him in prayer and, at times, even with fasting. It is God’s awesome and majestic holiness that compels us to love and fear Him at the same time. When get even a small glimpse of Him with whom we have to deal, we will live in the fear of the Lord. Then, and only then, will we begin to experience His three purposes for our marriages: to reflect His image, to reign in spiritual warfare, and to reproduce a godly heritage.
In light of God’s call to us to live in the fear of the Lord, prayerfully consider the following questions:
1. Can you think of any areas of your life or marriage where you are not living in the fear of the Lord, by refusing to walk in His ways? If so, why not confess them to God right now? What can you do right now to redirect your steps back into His ways?
2. What areas of your life, marriage, and family should you be taking to God in prayer right now? Why not spend a little time talking them over with Him right now?
© 2003 Christian Family Life
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