The fear of the Lord is a good thing–when we understand what we are fearing!
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
When a student enters the dojo (school) of a fourth-degree blackbelt Karate expert, there is a certain amount of fear of what that teacher COULD do to him, but there is much more awe than outright fear of getting beaten beyond recognition. The teacher wants the student to learn his ways and to be with him for a long while. Beating up his students would never enter his mind! Consider this passage:
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-11
Our Father in heaven has good gifts to give us. Even as we fear Him as King of the Universe, we are in awe of Him as our heavenly Father! He loves us and we love Him. When it comes to judgment, we receive discipline, but not punishment. Christ has already taken all the consequences of our sin upon Himself. Note these words from Jesus Himself:
In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. John 16:26-27
Did you catch that? The Father Himself loves us! WOW! Now, when we ask for something, we can ask in Jesus’ name. What does that mean? It means that we ask for the same things for which Jesus asked. We’ll break that down another time. Suffice it to say that we can trust the Father to do what is right for everyone involved when we ask Him. It’s not that He won’t unless we ask, but it’s because we ask that He now has “permission” to get involved. Consider what Jesus told Peter:
“and I will give to thee the keys of the reign of the heavens, and whatever thou mayest bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever thou mayest loose upon the earth shall be having been loosed in the heavens.” Youngs Literal Translation
A short time after this conversation, Peter loosed salvation in Christ with the coming of the Holy Spirit upon his Jewish brethren in Acts 2. Soon after that, he loosed salvation upon Cornelius and all Gentiles in Acts 10. Peter bound the Gospel from the religious leaders with his statement, “we must obey God rather than men” Acts 5:29. As we can see, God was working through Peter in each of these situations as he loosed and bound what God wanted Him to loose and bind.
He wants to do the same thing with us! In our situations, we have the freedom and responsibility to loose and bind according to God’s will. For instance, when praying for our leaders and government officials:
- We seek revival to sweep through their offices and meetings;
- We seek perseverance in the face of bad decisions, ridicule, ostracism, and persecution;
- We seek God’s glory to be attained according to the rise and fall of nations;
- We bind satanic forces and pray that those who follow them will devour each other;
- We loose the Holy Spirit in their lives and circumstances;
- We bind all under-the-table meetings, pay-offs, and deals that they betray each other;
- We loose those leaders that stand for what is right and just;
- We bind immoral laws and decisions;
- We loose liberty for captives and good news to the poor.
We could go on, which is the point. Let’s pray for our country and its leaders, but let’s pray with intention and education in that we have sought God’s will and are praying God’s will. We have a responsibility to pray. It also gives us something to talk about with our heavenly Father. Be sure to listen to His response.
Abba, You have given us the awesome task of being advocates for potential brothers and sisters. As we come to You in prayer for them, please teach us to pray for them according to Your will: “You love them so much; whosoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life (John 3:16);” “You are patient with them, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9),” for starters. Give us clean hands and pure hearts (Psalm 24:4) so that we can stand in the gap for our leaders (Ezekiel 22:30), O Lord. Teach us how and lead us to do it! Amen.