Where’s the Fear?

 

Now then, let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the LORD our God, or partiality or taking bribes.” 2 Chronicles 19:7

 

King Jehoshaphat was making changes, He was trying to reform what had been lost in Israel. He appointed judges and instructed them to make judgments with the fear of the Lord.  In Jerusalem, He appointed Levites and priests and heads of families to decide disputed cases (2 Chronicles 19:8)

“And he charged them: “Thus you shall do in the fear of the LORD, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart: whenever a case comes to you from your brothers who live in their cities, concerning bloodshed, law or commandment, statutes or rules, then you shall warn them, that they may not incur guilt before the LORD and wrath may not come upon you and your brothers. Thus you shall do, and you will not incur guilt.” 2 Chronicles 19:9-10

What Jehoshaphat instructed these people who would settle disputes was to warn people about God’s “law or commandment, statutes or rules, that they may not incur guilt before the Lord.”

We like to recite the verse that declares that God (Jesus Christ) is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). We see that truth confirmed in other verses  (Psalm 102:27-28, Malachi  3:6, James 1:17, Revelation 1:8). And yet, many of us have come to the conclusion that God no longer means for us to obey His Law. It was explained to me that we are living under grace so we are no longer subject to the Law.

Nice try for an easy out, but this is just not so according to scripture.

It is true that we do not have to obey the laws about making sacrifices for sin, as Jesus took the penalty for our sin, making the sacrifice of His own life for ours (Romans 6:23). But, there is not a place where the rest of the law is abolished. The Ten Commandments, the case laws, and any “law or commandment, statutes or rules” given in scripture are to be obeyed.

Culturally, in the US, this may seem impossible. People point to the laws of God that suggest adulterers, homosexuals, and people who sacrifice their children be put to death (Deuteronomy 22:22ff), and scoff.

As it stands now, our governmental laws do not allow for the death penalty for these offenses. Does that mean that God’s Law’s against them should be ignored? Should we fall into the trap of feeling sympathy for the offender and not the victim? Should we not be trying to convince others that following God’s laws would save a lot of anguish and pain in families and individuals? Imagine if there had been stiffer penalties in history. Would we have as many broken families, sex traffickers or pedophiles, etc.?

There will be no societal change without understanding and acceptance of God’s Laws, and His goodness and grace in giving them. Christians have the least excuse for ignoring or scoffing at them. We have gone from laws that protect the innocent to laws that protect the guilty. This is only going to change one heart at a time, as we Christians speak the truth about the slippery slope we are on toward complete rebellion against God (or have we already arrived?).

Jehoshaphat saw how far Israel had fallen from the Lord. In the fear of the Lord, he made changes. Where is our fear of the Lord? What changes do we ourselves need to make and then encourage our leaders and judges to change?

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