The Bible teaches us that the fear of the Lord can be taught. When I first read this concept in Psalm 34:11, I was a little bit lost, because I could see plainly the the Fear of the Lord could be taught, but I didn’t know HOW to teach it.
Ever since then, that’s been in the back of my mind as I read the Bible. I’ve been asking God to show me HOW to teach the fear of the Lord. Today I read a passage that gives me some insight.
Haggai was a prophet during the reconstruction period of the second Jewish temple. But the Jewish people had gotten discouraged and weren’t being faithful to have the right priorities. They weren’t rebuilding the temple. So Haggai told them to consider their ways (and by implication, what they truly believed about God and his provision. Happily, the people listened and obeyed.
Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord.
13 Then spake Haggai the Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord.
14 And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, Haggai 1:12-14
- First, notice that obedience came first. It seems that the fear of the Lord came after.
- Second, I am interested in Haggai’s message in this context of fearing the Lord. Sometimes we mamas want to teach the fear of the Lord by emphasizing that God is not pleased with our sin. While this is true, and while the fear of the Lord is what causes us to depart from evil, in this passage, Haggai emphasizes God’s presence and his ability to fulfil his promises.
- Notice verse 7: As part of this message that results in the people growing to fear the Lord, God promises to take pleasure in their obedience!
- And notice the the Lord stirs up the people to continue to work in verse 14. Haven’t you seen this in your own life? When my kitchen is a mess, the last thing I feel like doing is starting to clean. But when I choose to obey God in order to please him, I keep working, and I am happy to work, and I gain momentum. It seems the people in this passage work the same way. This is a good example to teach our children I think. It is a good reminder when I don’t feel like obeying, too! Maybe I’ll talk about this today!