A Systematic Expository Study of the Word of God

 

Special Study:

THE KING’S DIVINELY INSPIRED, TIMELESS DECREE

Daniel 6:25,26

 

“Then king Darius wrote unto all people, I make a decree.” A decree is an official order or royal statute, a ruler’s command or law made by a king – an order with the power of legislation issued by a king or any person with authority. King Darius had signed an earlier decree but that decree was an unrighteous decree (Isaiah 10:1), a temporary decree (Daniel 6:7), a decree inspired by sin, self and Satan (Daniel 6:3-9). This new decree was not temporary but timeless, not unrighteous but righteous, not inspired by Satan but inspired by God. “I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for He is the living God” (Daniel 6:26). It is a universal decree as well as an unchangeable decree. Among “all people, nations, and languages”, from all “that dwell in all the earth”, God cannot expect anything less. “This is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14) in every place, at all times. Prophets in the Old Testament and preachers in the New Testament, angels in heaven and Christ on the right hand of majesty on high all declare the same decree (Isaiah 8:13; Psalms 33:8; 34:9; 1 Peter 2:17; Matthew 10:28; Revelation 14:6,7; Luke 12:4,5).

 

This is not merely the decree of an earthly king, it is the decree of the eternal King. The decree of God is His eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise and sovereign purpose – the will of the infinite, absolute, eternal, unchanging God. He demands from small and great, from the beginning of creation to an unending eternity, that we fear Him. In view of His infinite greatness and man’s total dependence on Him, “men tremble and fear before God, the living God.” The living God is the eternal God who has life in Himself and He is the fountain of life, without Him there is no life. He is the Author and Giver of life. “He is stedfast for ever.” He abides and lives forever while “presidents and princes”, “governors, counsellors and captains” (Daniel 6:4,7,24) rise and fall, live and die. All things change; but He is unchangeable. “His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” No human power can prevail against Him as His kingdom is upheld by His omnipotence. His might, power, omnipotence is irresistible. All the earth will fear Him. His saints do fear Him (Psalm 34:9). Sinners will fear Him at the White Throne Judgment and throughout eternity (Revelation 6:14-17; 20:11-15). Demons tremble and fear now in anticipation of coming judgment; sinners, demons and Satan will “fear God” throughout eternity while suffering torments in hell fire (James 2:19; Matthew 8:29). “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” (Psalm 2:10-12).

 

THE DECREE OF AN EARTHLY KING

Daniel 6:25,26; Deuteronomy 4:7-10; 6:24,25; 13:4-11; 31:12,13; Joshua 4:24; 24:14; 2 Chronicles 19:6,7,9; Luke 12:4,5; Revelation 14:6,7.

 

The exhortation in this decree is “fear the living God.” This exhortation is not only found here, but it is in several other texts of the Scripture. It is expressed and pressed upon us both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament (Exodus 20:20; Deuteronomy 10:12; Joshua 24:14; 1 Samuel 12:24; Psalm 33:8; Proverbs 3:7; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Luke 12:4,5; Romans 11:20; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:21; Colossians 3:22-24; Hebrews 12:28; Revelation 14:6,7). We should not confuse the exhortation to “fear God” with the passages of encouragement that command us to, “fear not.” These passages of Scripture assure us of God’s presence, provision and protection and so exhort us not to fear men, enemies, circumstances, trials, things present or things to come in the future. As God’s children, we do not have slavish fear or tormenting fear towards God but we have godly fear, reverential fear, filial fear. It is such filial fear – the fear of a son or of a daughter for the father – that makes us to hate what God hates and love what God loves, that makes us to permanently depart from evil and iniquity. “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you” (Malachi 1:6). All New Testament believers who have God as their Father must have the reverential, godly, filial fear of God. “As obedient children, be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. Fear God” (1 Peter 1:14-17; 2:17).

 

The scriptural fear of God is the fear of causing grief in the heart of our Father – God (Genesis 6:5,6), the fear of bringing divine wrath and judgment upon ourselves (Luke 12:4,5), the fear of giving occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme (2 Samuel 12:14), the fear of misleading our own children into hell fire (Matthew 18:6), the fear of becoming a stumblingblock to the brethren and destroying souls for whom Christ died (1 Corinthians 8:9,11,12), the fear of missing heaven and our promised inheritance (Hebrews 4:1; Jude 5). This is the fear of the LORD that makes us to hate and depart from evil (Proverbs 8:13; 3:7).

 

THE DEMAND OF THE ETERNAL KING

1 Timothy 1:17; Deuteronomy 5:29; 10:12,13,20; Malachi 1:6; 2:5-7; Jeremiah 32:38-40; 5:22-24; Hebrews 12:28,29; Revelation 19:5-9; Ecclesiastes 12:13,14.

 

Fear God. Fear the living God. Fear the LORD. Fear the LORD your God. Fear Him. Angels demand it. Christ demands it. God, the eternal King, Himself, demands it. From the beginning of divine revelation to the end, it is demanded we fear God, honour Him and give Him the glory due unto His Name. This is the whole duty of man; it is the salt that seasons every other duty. There is no duty performed by us that can by any means be accepted by God, if it is not seasoned with God-honouring respect, reverence and godly fear. “But as for me, I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy: and IN THY FEAR WILL I WORSHIP toward Thy holy Temple” (Psalm 5:7). Only the worship, obedience, service, faithfulness, sacrifice, zeal, ministry, which flows from the fountain of godly, reverential fear in the heart is acceptable to God and rewardable by Him.

 

The acceptable fear of God is first begotten in the heart when we are awakened and convicted of our sins and their consequence. Then do we cry out, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). It is this fear that drives us to Christ, seeking salvation, with a firm decision to “flee from the wrath to come” (Luke 3:6,7). Saved and abiding in Christ, it is this gracious, godly fear that makes us stedfast in the Lord, consecrating ourselves to Him, promising to serve Him till the end. “I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me” (Jeremiah 32:40). It is this glorious, godly fear, the divine gift of “the fear of the LORD” in our hearts (Isaiah 11:2; Jeremiah 32:39) that drives far away from us “the fear of man (that) bringeth a snare” (Proverbs 29:25) and we are able to say, “I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6). Then shall we be able to declare with firm and unwavering purpose of heart, “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

 

THE DELIGHT OF THE EVERLASTING KING

Jeremiah 10:6,7,10; Psalms 147:11; 25:12-14; 112:1-7; Genesis 22:11-18; Hebrews 11:7; Malachi 3:16-18; 4:2,3; Acts 10:22,33-35,44; Revelation 11:15-18.

           

God, the everlasting King, delights in those who fear Him in the divinely-appointed way. The fear of the Lord is imparted into our hearts for our good (Jeremiah 32:40; Deuteronomy 6:24). The great privilege of divine delights is reserved for those who fear the Lord, both in this world and in that which is to come. The Lord is the help and shield of all who fear Him (Psalm 115:11). Supernatural help and shield are the special grant and peculiar privilege for those who fear the Lord. Those who truly fear the Lord shall receive unfailing help in times of weakness and infirmity. They will also have heaven’s shield of protection against all the assaults of the devil and his messengers.

 

God has also declared concerning the believer who fears Him that He will be his teacher, guide and counsellor at every cross-road in life. Such a God-fearing believer will never lack the wisdom to choose the right way (Psalm 25:12). To be taught of God, to be led by God and to be kept in the path that leads to heaven is one of the greatest privileges we can have in this world of darkness and confusion. Do you truly fear the Lord? He will open His secret unto you. Things which are kept secret from the wise men of the world and from the prudent men on earth will be revealed unto you (Psalm 25:14). The treasures of divine wisdom and knowledge, marvellous and wondrous things hidden from casual, carnal and careless people will be made known to those who fear the Lord.

 

“The eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine” (Psalm 33:18,19). As a shepherd watches over his sheep and protects them from wolves that seek to devour them, so are the Lord’s eyes upon them that fear Him as peculiar possessions of His delight. Mighty and powerful angels are charged with the protection of those who fear the Lord (Psalm 34:7). God’s abundant mercy is also reserved for them  (Psalm 103:13). Do you have unfulfilled desires? Do you feel the pain of unanswered prayers? How can you live in the fulness of joy with all desires fulfilled to God’s glory? Fear the Lord as He has commanded. “He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him” (Psalm 145:19). “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear Him. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures” (Psalms 147:11; 36:8).

 

 

 

 

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