November 8, 2017

Proverbs 1:7 (NLT) — 7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

If a doctor wants to know the condition of your heart he will give you a stress test. He might ask you how you are feeling and you might even say fine but he will not take your word for it. He will want to put you through a test to find out for himself if you truly are fine. He hooks up some wires to you and puts you on a treadmill and has you start walking. As first it is easy and you feel fine perhaps until the elevation is raised and the speed picks up and your heart really has to beat faster and you begin to sweat. Now you find out if you really feel fine.

If God asked you if you fear Him you would probably say yes. But God doesn’t take your word for it. God will create an experience in your life, a stress test, to see if you really do fear him, to see if you love him more than anything else. It will be a situation that may not make sense to you and where it will be difficult to trust and obey the Lord. Think of the Israelites when they were sandwiched between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army or Daniel’s friends who were caught between worshiping an idol and an extremely hot fiery furnace or Philip caught between thousands of hungry people and five loaves and two fish.

So how do you know if you really fear the Lord? Let’s look at the story of Abraham and his son Isaac in Genesis 22:1-14 for some clues as to how you can know if you fear the Lord.

1. You fear God when you listen eagerly for the voice of God.

Genesis 22:1–2 (NLT) — 1 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” 2 “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”

Over the course of his life time Abraham and learned how to recognize the voice of God. God was no going to put Abraham on the treadmill to see is he really did fear God; to see if God was the most important person in his life, to see if he took God seriously, to see if he put the will of God above his own will, to see if he loved God more than anything else, to see if he would really obey God even when it didn’t make any sense. God really wanted to see the condition of Abraham’s heart. The only way for God to know was to give Abraham a stress test!

 The best way that I know how to listen for the voice of God is to have a daily bible reading plan. The bible is the voice of God. Abraham would agree with this. Listen to what he told the rich man in: 

Luke 16:29 (NLT) — 29 “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’

Listen to what David, a man who feared God, said,

Psalm 119:14–16 (NLT) — 14 I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. 15 I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. 16 I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.

Psalm 119:103 (NLT) — 103 How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.

Psalm 119:127 (NLT) — 127 Truly, I love your commands more than gold, even the finest gold.

Listen to what Job, a man who feared God said,

Job 23:12 (NLT) — 12 I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food.

Listen to what Jeremiah, a man who feared God, said,

Jeremiah 15:16 (NLT) — 16 When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.

Listen to what Jesus the Son of God said,

John 8:31 (NLT) — 31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.

The Bible is one of the stress tests that God uses to find out the condition of our hearts. Do you eagerly come to God’s word because you want to hear what he has to say? If you do you probably fear God.

John 8:37 (NLT) — 37 Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message.

They might have been biological descendants of Abraham but they didn’t have the fear of God in their hearts like Abraham. Abraham made room for God’s word in his life but these people didn’t. They failed the Bible Stress Test.

We will continue this teaching tomorrow.

Be Inspired Hilltop!