Commandment #1 – The Importance of Fearing God
Join us for this second episode on how to teach the first commandment, Thou Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me. Learn the importance of teaching your children and students about the real God revealed in the Word of God, and why it is important that we learn to fear and honor God as our creator and king.
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Jeremy Walker: You’re listening to the Moral Foundations Podcast, and I’m your host, Reverend Jeremy Walker. Today’s episode is part two of the first commandment, as we’re going through teaching the 10 Commandments. Or at least, how you as the parent or you as the teacher can teach the 10 Commandments to your children and or to your students. The first episode we did in the series of teaching the 10 Commandments, was on the First Commandment. We discussed mostly the concept of authority, delegated authority. It was a very important subject for you to get across to your students and or to your children.
Now, another aspect of that course was that God was the creator. So, the first episode, if you haven’t heard it yet, you can go back and catch the first episode of this, discussing authority, which is very important. To understand the commandments at all, you have to understand authority and where it comes from and why does God get to tell us what to do. That episode is very good, you can go back and pick that up on the website.
But this is episode two, or part two of the first commandment. The first commandment being, though shall have no other gods before me. We’re going to go into another very important aspect of this, that as a parent or a teacher you have to get across and you have to understand in order to properly teach the commandments. It goes along with the concept of what happens to a person that keeps the commandments, or what happens to a person who doesn’t keep the commandments. Now, anybody who has children or students, whatever you might be, a school teacher or a parent, they’re going to notice that as they tell their children or as they tell their students what they have to do, rules, regulations, whatever it might be, that there’s going to be a challenge to those rules and regulations.
They’re going to test your authority, they’re going to test to see what’s going to happen as … I like to call it, they test your limits. This is very important. Because when you teach the commandments, you have to understand that your children and your students are automatically going to test the limits of, “What’s going to happen to me if I do this? What happens to me if I don’t?” Because that’s one of the things we went over. The first episode, was the authority question, who gets to tell me what to do? The idea is, I get to tell myself what to do. And that’s the most basic violation of the first commandment, is seeing yourself as God. That’s why we extensively covered that subject. But there really has to be a reason why someone has to listen to you.
God gives a very clear reason why someone should listen to Him. In the first episode we did on this, set forth our God as the creator, and He has the authority and the obligation to dictate the terms. He also has the right to either reward and or punish people who do or don’t listen to Him. This episode is going to be covering the concept of where do blessings come from, or in other words, what’s going to happen to you if you obey, what’s going to happen if you disobey. And very important subject is this, absolutely 100% neglected by probably 90 or 99% of every person you ever heard speak in church. And that’s the concept of fear. To fear God.
Now, people when they talk about that term, they automatically jump to all kinds, “Oh, no, no no, we don’t want you to actually be afraid of God. That would just be horrible and terrible. After all, we’re supposed to just love God. Love, love, love, love, love.” Problem is, is that we can love God just like we love our parent, or we can love a police officer. We can love the fact that they’re there to protect us, the fact that they’re there to help us. But we should be careful and mindful not to break the rules. Because the same person who is going to be protecting us and keeping us safe is also the same person who’s going to have to enforce the rules. Negative consequence.
Well, let’s start with some direction from the Bible, about this concept. But as the parent, as the teacher, you have to be able to get across to your children the fear of God. And this isn’t just some kind of a made up idea, what the fear of God is. But it’s actual fear, really being actually frightened. Reasonable fear. Now, it doesn’t mean that you try to terrify people. I think in another episode of the Moral Foundations Podcast, I think we had covered the concept, that people will try to frighten people with hell. And if you go to a child and you speak on hell enough and scare them, that you can get them out to make a profession of faith out of fear. Now, that’s not the kind of fear that we’re talking about here. We’re talking about reasonable fear.
Now, reasonable fear is a very simple concept. It’s reasonable to fear fire. Fire, if you get near it, is going to burn you. You must teach your children to respect and fear the concept of things that are hot or fire. You should teach your children to respect water. If you have a pool or you have young children that can’t swim, or even if they can swim, they should be taught to respect these things. There’s many other things they should be taught to respect as well. But here’s a couple basic concepts for you, fire and water are things that are very useful. Now, things that are very helpful to you, that keep you safe, but also very dangerous. And if you don’t have a healthy respect and fear for these things, you’re going to end up harming yourself.
The same thing goes whenever we’re talking about the concept of God and God’s law. Is we need to have a healthy respect and fear for God Himself. Now, the commandments, if you’re setting the stage … and let’s set the stage real quick. We’re setting the stage for the giving of the commandments on Mount Sinai, with Moses and all the Israelites who are coming out of Egypt, even the mixed multitude that came out with them as well. It wasn’t like they just walked out and God said, “Okay, here are my commandments, let me give them to you and let’s all be friends.” Far from it. Now, let’s start setting the stage.
We have Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. We have Joseph. This is always in the book of Genesis, and towards the end of the Book of Genesis, Joseph is in Egypt. And, of course, Joseph becomes basically prime minister of Egypt and secures a home and place for his family. 400 years go by. 400 years. In this time frame, he steps into Exodus one, a new king comes up who does not know Joseph. He becomes very scared and frightened because God has blessed the Israelites in their time in Egypt, and they start to be fruitful and multiply. Kind of going back to our last episode, about being fruitful and multiplying, as being a blessing from God. But they become something to be afraid of, because of their dominion that they could have over Egypt. There’s King Saul that they could take over, should they desire to. They had the numbers, and they scared him.
Now, that, of course, led into, we get the Moses’ story and you have Moses fleeing Egypt. Then 40 years later, God comes to Moses in the burning bush, on the side of the mountain and calls him back to Egypt, to have the people released. Now, long story short, Moses gets there, the king isn’t listening. And God says, “Let my people go or else …” Now, we’ve already established, in our first episode of the 10 Commandments, that all people, including governments, have to obey the voice of God, because He is their creator. There is no other God besides Him. All people are required to obey God. So, whenever Moses shows up and says, “I’m speaking on behalf of God, let the people go,” it’s a declaration of sovereignty. “These are my people, you will release them, or else …”
Well, people, of course, 400 years in, they don’t know who God is. It’s all fairy tales for them. The only thing they know are the gods of Egypt. They don’t know anything about the God of the Bible. And so, when Moses gets there, it’s a very difficult time for him. But the plagues start. They had, of course, as we know, the blood, the water turns into blood. We had frogs that cover the land. Lice that cover all the beasts, biting insects. Flies that come in and spoil the land, the cattle plagued. Boils on the people. Hail stones that come in and destroy all of the farming and the plants. We had the locusts who come and eat up whatever was not destroyed. We had darkness which covers the land. Then, of course, the first born die. And this is where, of course, the Passover supper was instituted. The entire family, of course, participated in this.
The Israelites saw this. They saw this God who is calling them, crush a nation. The strongest nation on earth, crush them. They push them out. In fact, they were so scared that if they stayed any longer, that God would just wipe out the entire nation. That they actually gave all their riches to the Israelites on their way out. God says that they spoil them. Fear, talk about fear. These Egyptians are brought to their knees. And now, the Israelites, on their way out, thought that everything was hunky-dory do. Until they hit the Red Sea and they found out that the Israelites were not alone at the Red Sea, but the Egyptians were coming after them. The King comes after them, the Red Sea, and the last minute the Sea parts and they walk through the Red Sea, on dry land.
In come the Egyptians, with their mighty force, and God drops the water on them. Drowns the entire military force of the Egyptians. So, not only does He crush the Egyptian culture, He crushes everything about them. Their economy, their people, taking their progeny. Destroying their military. The Israelites were getting a very good sense of who God was. God was not somebody to trifle with, God was somebody who would destroy you. He was somebody who would kill you, He was somebody who would take everything from you, and even including that, He would kill your firstborn. Now, this is not somebody to be trifled with. The Egyptians learned that pretty quick, and it frightened them.
The Israelites had to see this as well. They had to see this fear, this God that they’re dealing with. This God they are dealing with is not a cupcake, somebody who is politely asking you to do something. This is a sovereign God, who is going to command you to do something. If you don’t do it, there will be consequences. You will be crushed, in every shape, form and fashion. Egypt was crushed in every way possible, and brought the entire nation to its absolute knees. And then destroyed its military forces. So, the Israelites had a very good idea who they are dealing with here.
When they get to Mount Sinai, they are then instructed that God’s going to come meet them. They’re instructed to clean themselves up. They’re told to build a fence around the base of the mountain and not come onto the mountain. In fact, they were told if they came onto the mountain, then they were going to be put to death. So, God says, “You’re going to build this fence around the mountain. And if you come on before I tell you to, you’re going to die. I’m going to kill you. I’m going to have someone else kill you.” This doesn’t sound like the God that most people talk about, because this is a God that is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. The enemies of God should be terrified of who He is. He is a jealous God. In fact, God himself, in these commandments, speaks of himself being a jealous God, multiple times throughout the Bible.
But to continue on with the consistency of what we’re talking about here, about before the commandments are given, God’s putting His fear in the people. Now, it wasn’t just a fear that you should be afraid of something like a mad dog that might bite you. Because God’s not some mad dog that’s just going to bite you if you’re not careful. He is a loving God, He’s a kind God. He’s a patient God, He’s a merciful God. But He’s not someone to be trifled with. He’s not someone to disobey. He is a very jealous God. He identifies himself as jealous God. He wants you to understand what’s His is His, and people will listen to him or else …
Now, as God gave the 10 Commandments, something else happened as well. I’d like to read a passage here, as we’re going through this. Because it’s very important that people understand what happened next. Not only did God crush Egypt, show why the Israelites should be afraid of God, what He is capable of doing to his enemies. But then, of course, He threatened to kill anybody who came up on the mountain side. Then he gave the 10 Commandments. And Exodus 28, explains that the mountain is shaking as a violent earthquake. It’s steaming and it’s shaking and there’s lightning and there’s thunders. And God’s voice is booming louder and louder and louder.
Now, why, oh, why would God boom like that? Why shake? There are other passages in the Bible, where He was with Elisha, where he takes him up to the same mountain. There’s an earthquake, but God was on the earthquake, et cetera, et cetera. Then there was a still small voice, and then this was the voice of God. So, why all the shaking? Why all the booming? Why all the smoking? Why all the terror? In fact, people, by the time God got done with the 10 Commandments, the people were so scared that they ran away from the mountain. And they were afraid God was going to kill them. It was so frightening. This wasn’t some pastor standing up on the pulpit, who was just politely and quietly giving the commandments to you and just saying, “Well, these are the 10 Commandments for you. And God would really like it if you keep them.” No, He was terrifying them. Terrifying them.
In Exodus 20, we have here, just after the commandments were given, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they were moved, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, ‘Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.’ And Moses said unto the people, ‘Fear not: for God is come to prove you, that his fear may be before you faces, that you sin not.”” this is very important. All the Bible stories that we have, all these bible stories we teach and we talk about, where things happened in them. It’s very important we understand why they were given.
And I’ll read through another passage here, just to back all this stuff up. The importance of fear and what it really means. Reasonable fear. As the Bible says, “It is a fearful thing to fall in the hands of an angry God. Well, it’s here, let’s jump into Hebrews, 12:24 through 29. Because people might like to think that, “Well, hey, this is just in the Old Testament, my God’s in the New Testament. That was a God of fear, my God’s a God of love. This was God the father and we have got the son,” whatever people might say. Hebrews 12:24 through 29, just because people need sometimes New Testament, they fail to understand that the whole Bible is God speaking. Sometimes people think that Jesus is only in red. Well, you can go back to the podcast episode on that too.
Anyways, Hebrews 12:24 through 29, “And Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” This is talking clearly about Jesus’ work of mediation. This is the New Testament. It doesn’t get any more New Testament than this. Going on, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him to speak on earth, much more shall not we escape, we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shall I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.'” Now, this is a threat, “Not only am I going to shake the ground like I did on Mount Sinai, but I’m going to shake everything, including the heavens.” Now, this is a terrifying thing. This should be a thing of caution.
it’s alluding directly back to the concept of what we’re talking about here, what God did on Mount Sinai. And this is now Jesus saying, “I’m not shaking just the Earth, I’m shaking the heavens as well as.” This is something we should definitely pay attention to. This is something you should get your students to pay attention to, your children to pay attention to. “And this word, yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore, we receive in a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.”
Now, this is an important point here to point out to people. You don’t get across the fear of God to people and you failed to get across the 10 Commandments. Because, why is it I should obey those commandments? Why is it we have so much sin in the church today? Why are churches full of sin? The young people can’t help themselves, they are fornicating everywhere. Every sin possible, they are committing. Including the adults and the parents. Why? Because there is no fear before their eyes. They are not afraid of what God’s going to do to them, now, on Earth, and they are not afraid of what God’s going to do to them in heaven. They think they’ll have a get out of jail free card, because they pray the sinners prayer.
But here you have, in the New Testament, in Hebrews, Him telling them that the same God is going to shake not only the ground, but the heavens as well. And that God is a consuming fire. This is somebody not to be trifled with. David, King David is a great example. I love his story, he’s one of our examples about people who fail. Of course, the Israelites in the wilderness fail as well. But the important thing to figure out here, to understand, is that God is not going to be mocked. If King David is going to commit sin, here and now, which he was forgiven in eternity … Because when he’s confronted with his sins, God forgave him. He said, “Oh, no, don’t worry, your sins are forgiven.” However, he lost everything. Go back and read First and Second Samuel, and see what happened to David and his family afterwards. There were horrible consequences. Absolute terrifying horrible consequences. I could not believe a father would have to go through so many things. Not just the death of a child, but so many things after that.
I think it’s very important for people to understand these things. Because they have to get this across, they have to have. Your children, your students have to get across. They have to be afraid of what’s God’s going to do to them. Not just in hell, but here as well. Now, there are a couple of verses as well, which are famous verses, which I’ll cover on. Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them who’s is going to 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.” And we are afraid of people, here and now.
We’re afraid of governments, we’re afraid of bad guys coming in our doors. We lock our doors at night. But are we afraid of God? This here is a verse people are using a lot as a verse of comfort. But it’s not a comfort, it’s a threat. You should be afraid to break God’s commandments. You should be afraid to dishonor God. You claim you’re one of His, but you’re going to break those commandments, you’re going to ignore what he says? Your God is a consuming fire, something you should pay attention to.
Now, having covered all this, I think I’ve done as best as I can. I don’t want to cover too much ground here. But teaching this first commandment, thou shalt have no other gods before me, you’re going to have to have the fear of God, and you have to teach that for them. Now, Proverbs is a great verse, because it teaches what is the fear of God. Now, there is not only a reasonable fear that you should be afraid of getting into trouble. In fact, the Bible says that the fear of God cleanses men from sin.
In other words, that you’re so afraid of getting into trouble that you purposely stay away from it. Kind of like the person who is driving down the interstate and they don’t want to get a ticket, so they purposely slow down. Even if they don’t see a police officer, they’re still careful to watch their speed. Then, of course, and if they do see the police officer, they really slow down then. Hit their brakes to make sure that they’re not going to get caught doing what they were doing. They don’t want to get that ticket.
This is the concept we’re talking about here, what God’s fear does. This is what God said, had Moses tell the Israelites on the mountain, “I want you to be afraid of what I’m going to do to you, so that you don’t sin. I don’t want you to get in trouble, in other words. I don’t want you to get in trouble, I don’t want to punish you. I’d like to bless you.” In fact, that’s what the entire Bible is about. God saying, “I would love to bless. I want to bless you.” Proverbs is filled with the verses that talk of wisdom screaming from the housetops. He wants to bless people. He wants people to listen to him, but they won’t. And then, of course, what happens next is you’re going to reap what you sow. Be careful what you sow, because that’s what’s coming next. That’s what you’re going to reap.
But a Bible verse, Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of Jehovah is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way. And a froward mouth, do I hate.” Now, this is very important because if we’re going to really fear God, it’s just not, “I’m not going to get in trouble, I want to stay away from getting in trouble,” that’s part of it. But you actually, if you’re going to love God, you’re going to fear God, you have to actually hate evil. It means you hate to do things that are wrong. That’s what it really means to fear God. So, it’s not just this fear of, “I’m going to be scared that’s God going to do something to me.” Like in King David’s case, He actually did kill his child.
But here, it’s talking about not only that, but the fear of God is also to hate evil. It’s to love what God loves and to hate what God hates. That’s what it means to really fear God. That’s the way of blessing, that’s the way of prosperity. This is something that you have to get across to your children, to your students. That you really do have to understand who you’re dealing with. You’re dealing with a God that flooded the whole world and drowned every person on it, except for eight, including all the animals. Now, it’s His planet, it’s His creation, He can take away life whenever He wants to, based on the obedience He has. Now, in Egypt, people didn’t listen to Him then either. And then He crushed Egypt. He crushed them. These are the things that people need to learn. And if you’re going to teach the commandments, you have to get this concept across. That you have a reasonable fear of God, a reverential fear.
Here’s another verse, just in case I haven’t said enough of these things. Just to get this concept across to you. Here you are, Deuteronomy 4:23-26, “Take heed unto yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make ye any graven image or any likeness of anything which the Lord God hath forbidden thee. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” Now, this is back in Deuteronomy this is going back to, Hebrews is quoting Deuteronomy, when God says of himself, “I’m a consuming fire, and I’m a jealous God. Don’t think I’m going to let you get away with it.” He’s not going to let you get away with it. He’s going to take care of it. You’re going to get in trouble, in other words.
This is something that your students and children need to learn. God is going to make you pay for everything that you do. Now, there, you might get away from it, like King David did in eternity, because Jesus Christ died for your sins. But, there are the temporal consequences that are going to come. This is the problem that people have, is that they’ve taught and spoon fed their children and their students. This concept in churches that if you just pray this prayer and ashes is in your heart, then you’re no longer going to worry about breaking God’s commandments, because you’re saved. Well, you’re going to suffer loss of reward. You’re pushed to run the race, that Paul talks about, to earn that crown, that reward which you’re not going to get if you break God’s Commandments. And here and now, you’re not going to have a life. God might crush you temporarily. You might have eternal life, but He might crush you here and now.
Here is the next part of Deuteronomy 4, continue reading there, “When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and you have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image or any likeness of anything, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger; I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.”
This is something that we need to teach our children and our students. You need to get this across to them, and who they are dealing with. The kind of person they have. What kind of God that really exist. He is a holy God, He is a jealous God. And one who will severely bless you, but will also, as we’ve just read a few verses here, He puts threats out there. He wants to put these threats out there to cause fear, because he doesn’t want to have to punish you. He does not want to have to crush His people, but He will.
I think I’ll close with this. In Malachi 1:6, “A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master. ‘If then I be a father, where is my honor? And if I be a master, where is my fear?’ saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name.’ And ye say, ‘Wherein have we despised thy name?”” Malachi continues to go on to explain how they’ve despised His name, what they’ve done in disobedience to what God has told them to do. But if we call God a father, as in the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,” He’s asking where is his honor. We’re going to honor Him, we’re going to respect Him, we’re going to fear Him. Who’s going to be calling Him a master? We call Him Lord, but where is the fear that he deserves?
These are questions, that if you don’t get across to your students, then you failed as a teacher and you failed as a parent. Because your children and your students need to have a healthy fear of who they’re dealing with. Once again, as we’ve said already, your child can be saved. They can have their sins washed away and Jesus Christ be their salvation and mediator with the God the Father in heaven, just as King David did. But that does not mean that they’re going to have a full reward in heaven and that does not mean that they’re going to have a blessed life here and now. They need to have a healthy understandable fear. That they serve a jealous God, who is a consuming fire. Who wants to get across, through the examples He’s given us in the Bible, that He will crush people who disobey Him. And He wants to convince us of that fact.
Why? Just like he said with Moses and the Israelites, at the very beginning, He wants us to understand this so that we will not sin, so you do not have to get in trouble. You’ll be like the parent or the teacher looking at the student or the child and saying, “You’re going to get in trouble if you do such and such. I really don’t want you to get in trouble, so, please, don’t do these things.” And that is what God is doing when he’s given these commandments. But if you don’t get across the fear of God, if you don’t convince that child and those students of who the real God is, of what’s going to happen to them, then you failed to do your job. But the fear of God is all throughout the Bible. It is something that is in Old and New Testament stress continually and continually and continually again.
So, if you do not stress it yourself, you opt instead to try to make people think they serve a God who has candy canes and lollipops and rainbows, who would never say a cross word to them, then you are not portraying the real God. And, in fact, you have another god. You’re actually breaking this Commandment. It is a violation of this Commandment not to portray the real God as He is, and not to be ashamed of Him. After all, God has said that, “Those who confess me before me, I’ll confess them before my Father which is in heaven.” Are you ashamed of your God to teach the truth about Him? Are you ashamed of your God to really make sure your children and students understand who the real God is?
Now, hopefully, you won’t be guilty of breaking this first Commandment. Hopefully, your students and your children won’t be guilty of breaking this first Commandment, because they don’t rightly understand the real God. They haven’t created an imaginary god that does not exist and try to serve him. The God of the Bible is the only one that exist. He is a jealous God. He is a consuming fire. He is a loving God. He is a merciful God. But He is one that God wants us to understand. And if we understand Him properly, we will fear Him with the rightful fear. We’ll reverence Him, we’ll obey Him, and we will be blessed. But if not, then God wants us to understand who He is and what He’s going to do, because He wants to bless us. He does not want us to be punished. He does want us to understand, without question, of what will happen if we decide to disobey Him. That’s why he make sure we understand that He is a jealous God.
So, hopefully, that gives you something to think about. Hopefully, this will be something good for you to understand when teaching the 10 Commandments. But it’s not just about teaching the commandments themselves and have somebody recite the 10 Commandments. It’s about taking the whole Bible and making that application to this first commandment, what it means not to have another god. It means you have to understand who that God is, teach who that God is, and make sure you live according to what’s going to happen to you if you disobey that God. So, hopefully, this has given you more than enough to think about. Have a good day.
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