The Fear of the Lord, Study 2

Genesis 22:12


And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”


Read the context:  Genesis 22:1-19

God says to Abraham:  “Now I know that you fear God.”  How did God know this?  Look also at the end of verse 18.

So we see that the fear of God is demonstrated or proven in our lives though our obedience to Him.  But it’s not simply obedience, an obedience that is cold and sterile or acquiescing to duty.  Look at Genesis 22:2.  God makes a special point of making sure Abraham knows which son He’s talking about.  First God says, “your son,” then He adds, “your only son Isaac.”  But what is the final clincher that goes to Abraham’s heart?  It is as if God is revealing to Abraham – and to us – that He knows exactly what He is asking of Abraham.  What is God really testing here? 

Read verse 16.  What does God say is “this thing” that Abraham has done?

What does all this tell you about the fear of the Lord? 

It is a heart issue, and the fear of the Lord is bound up in what we love.  Could we say that the ratio of our fear of the Lord is in direct proportion to our love for Him?  Perhaps this is why Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  He didn’t say the greatest commandment is to fear the Lord your God, but to love Him.  How is this a reflection of the 1st of the 10 commandments?

James uses this same story to illustrate one of the main points of his letter.  Read James 2:14-26.  How does James say we show our faith?  And according to Genesis 22, our acts of obedience reveal who or what we love most and whether we truly trust (have faith in) God.

Read Hebrews 11:17-19 where this same story is used again.  What is the story illustrating in this passage of Scripture?

Is there anything you are withholding from God?  Anything or anyone that if He put His finger on that thing or person and asked you to sacrifice it to Him, you would say no?  Is He your 1st love?  Can you trust Him that much?  With everything in your life?  Spend time in prayer before the Lord, examining your heart and life.  Offer each love or affection to God, asking Him to be your 1st love.  Surely this request of God to Abraham was not easy, nor will it be for us.  So take time to wrestle through this.

After Abraham had been tested (and passed the test with flying colors!), what was God’s response in Genesis 22:16-18?  List the promises.  What do you learn about God’s ways from this? 

The fear of the Lord:  it is tightly bound up with full trust or real faith, with love – the 1st of our affections, and with obedience.  This fear-faith-love-obedience combination carries with it the blessing of God; and not just for ourselves, but it enables God to bless the world through us.

Add to your list of what the fear of the Lord is and what effects it has in our lives.