Fear Jehovah and Glorify His Holy Name
“Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal?”—REVELATION 15:4.
1, 2. (a) How did Jehovah open heavenly floodgates during 1991? (b) What life experience prompted a faithful missionary to give the advice: “Fear Jehovah”? (See also 1991 Yearbook, pages 187-9.)
JEHOVAH ‘opened the floodgates of the heavens and actually emptied out a blessing until there was no more want.’ Those words could be applied over and over again to Jehovah’s Witnesses in recent times. (Malachi 3:10) For example, during the 1991 service year, the enthusiasm of visiting Witnesses and local conventioners overflowed in Christian fellowship at special conventions held around the earth—from the “Pure Language” Conventions in Buenos Aires in South America; and Manila, Taipei, and Bangkok in the Orient; to the “Lovers of Freedom” Conventions in Budapest, Prague, and Zagreb (August 16-18, 1991) in Eastern Europe.
2 What a joy it was for delegates from overseas to meet longtime faithful Witnesses in those places! For example, in Bangkok, Frank Dewar—at one time the only Kingdom publisher in Thailand—told of his 58 years of missionary service. His activities ranged from the islands of the Pacific to Southeast Asia, and even into China. He had faced dangers from shipwreck, wild animals in the jungles, tropical diseases, and the cruel regime of the Japanese warlords. When asked what advice he would give to conventioners, his reply was a simple one: “Fear Jehovah!”
3. Why should we display godly fear?
3 “Fear Jehovah!” How important it is for all of us to cultivate that wholesome fear! “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10) This fear is no morbid dread of Jehovah. Rather, it is a profound respect for his awesome majesty and godly qualities, based on the insight we receive through a study of God’s Word. At Revelation 15:3, 4, the song of Moses and of the Lamb declares: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal?” In loyalty to his worshipers, Jehovah has “a book of remembrance . . . written up before him for those in fear of Jehovah and for those thinking upon his name.” They are rewarded with everlasting life.—Malachi 3:16; Revelation 20:12, 15.
Godly Fear Triumphs
4. What ancient deliverance should encourage us to fear Jehovah?
4 When Israel marched out of Pharaoh’s Egypt, Moses showed clearly that he feared only Jehovah. Soon, the Israelites were trapped between the Red Sea and Egypt’s mighty military machine. What could they do? “Moses said to the people: ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and see the salvation of Jehovah, which he will perform for you today. For the Egyptians whom you do see today you will not see again, no, never again. Jehovah will himself fight for you, and you yourselves will be silent.’” Miraculously, Jehovah parted the waters. The Israelites marched across the seabed. Then the waters came crashing down again. Pharaoh’s army was obliterated. Jehovah saved that God-fearing nation, while at the same time executing judgment on God-dishonoring Egypt. Likewise today, he will exhibit his loyalty in delivering his God-fearing Witnesses from Satan’s world.—Exodus 14:13, 14; Romans 15:4.
5, 6. What events in Joshua’s time show that we should fear Jehovah rather than man?
5 After the Exodus from Egypt, Moses sent 12 spies into the Promised Land. Ten were terrified at seeing the giantlike inhabitants and tried to dissuade Israel from entering the land. But the other two, Joshua and Caleb, reported: “[It] is a very, very good land. If Jehovah has found delight in us, then he will certainly bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that is flowing with milk and honey. Only against Jehovah do not rebel; and you, do not you fear the people of the land, for they are bread to us. Their shelter has turned away from over them, and Jehovah is with us. Do not fear them.”—Numbers 14:7-9.
6 However, those Israelites succumbed to fear of man. As a result, they never reached the land of promise. But Joshua and Caleb, together with a new generation of Israelites, were privileged to enter that choice land and cultivate its vineyards and olive groves. In his farewell speech to the assembled people of Israel, Joshua gave this advice: “Fear Jehovah and serve him in faultlessness and in truth.” And Joshua added: “As for me and my household, we shall serve Jehovah.” (Joshua 24:14, 15) What encouraging words for family heads and all others to fear Jehovah as we prepare to cross over into God’s righteous new world!
7. How did David emphasize the importance of fear of God?
7 The shepherd boy David also displayed exemplary fear of Jehovah when he challenged Goliath in the name of God. (1 Samuel 17:45, 47) On his deathbed, David could declare: “The spirit of Jehovah it was that spoke by me, and his word was upon my tongue. The God of Israel said, to me the Rock of Israel spoke, ‘When one ruling over mankind is righteous, ruling in the fear of God, then it is as the light of morning, when the sun shines forth, a morning without clouds.’” (2 Samuel 23:2-4) This fear of God has been signally absent among this world’s rulers, and how tragic the result! How different it will be when Jesus, “the Son of David,” rules the earth in the fear of Jehovah!—Matthew 21:9.
Acting in the Fear of Jehovah
8. Why did Judah prosper under Jehoshaphat, indicating what for today?
8 About a hundred years after David’s death, Jehoshaphat became king in Judah. Here again was a king who served in the fear of Jehovah. He restored theocratic order in Judah, stationed judges throughout the land, and gave them these instructions: “It is not for man that you judge but it is for Jehovah; and he is with you in the matter of judgment. And now let the dread of Jehovah come to be upon you. Be careful and act, for with Jehovah our God there is no unrighteousness or partiality or taking of a bribe. . . . This is how you should do in the fear of Jehovah with faithfulness and with a complete heart.” (2 Chronicles 19:6-9) Thus, Judah prospered in the fear of Jehovah, just as God’s people benefit by the service of compassionate overseers today.
9, 10. How did Jehoshaphat triumph in fear of Jehovah?
9 However, Judah had enemies. These resolved to wipe out God’s nation. The combined military forces of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir swarmed into Judean territory and threatened Jerusalem. It was a mighty army. Jehoshaphat turned to Jehovah in prayer “while all those of Judah were standing before Jehovah, even their little ones, their wives and their sons.” Then, in answer to that prayer, Jehovah’s spirit came upon the Levite Jahaziel, who said: “Here is what Jehovah has said to you, ‘Do not you be afraid or be terrified because of this large crowd; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. . . . You will not need to fight in this instance. Take your position, stand still and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf. O Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid or be terrified. Tomorrow go out against them, and Jehovah will be with you.’”—2 Chronicles 20:5-17.
10 Next morning, the men of Judah rose early. As they obediently went out to meet the enemy, Jehoshaphat stood up and said: “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem! Put faith in Jehovah your God that you may prove yourselves of long duration. Put faith in his prophets and so prove successful.” Marching ahead of the armed men, singers to Jehovah sang in chorus: “Give praise to Jehovah, for to time indefinite is his loving-kindness.” Jehovah expressed that loving-kindness by throwing the enemy ranks into such confusion that they annihilated one another. As the men of Judah came to the watchtower in the wilderness, only the enemies’ dead carcasses remained.—2 Chronicles 20:20-24.
11. With regard to fear, how do the nations differ from God’s people?
11 When neighboring nations heard of this miraculous deliverance, “the dread of God” came to be upon them. On the other hand, the nation that obeyed in the fear of Jehovah now had “rest all around.” (2 Chronicles 20:29, 30) Similarly, when Jehovah executes judgment at Armageddon, the nations will be in dread of God and his Executioner Son, Jesus Christ, and they will be unable to stand in the great day of divine wrath.—Revelation 6:15-17.
12. How has fear of Jehovah been rewarded in earlier times?
12 Wholesome fear of Jehovah brings rich rewards. Noah “showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household.” (Hebrews 11:7) And as for the first-century Christians, it is recorded that, following a period of persecution, the congregation “entered into a period of peace, being built up; and as it walked in the fear of Jehovah and in the comfort of the holy spirit it kept on multiplying”—much as it is doing in Eastern Europe today.—Acts 9:31.
Love the Good, Hate the Bad
13. How only may we experience Jehovah’s blessing?
13 Jehovah is altogether good. Hence, “the fear of Jehovah means the hating of bad.” (Proverbs 8:13) It is written of Jesus: “You loved righteousness, and you hated lawlessness. That is why God, your God, anointed you with the oil of exultation.” (Hebrews 1:9) If we, like Jesus, desire Jehovah’s blessing, we must detest the badness, the immorality, the violence, and the greed of Satan’s proud world. (Compare Proverbs 6:16-19.) We must love what Jehovah loves and hate what he hates. We must fear to do anything that would displease Jehovah. “In the fear of Jehovah one turns away from bad.”—Proverbs 16:6.
14. How does Jesus provide us a model?
14 Jesus left us a model that we should follow his steps closely. “When he was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go threatening, but kept on committing himself to the one who judges righteously.” (1 Peter 2:21-23) In the fear of Jehovah, we too can endure the reproaches, the scoffings, the persecutions, that Satan’s world heaps upon us.
15. Why should we fear Jehovah rather than those who can kill the body?
15 At Matthew 10:28, Jesus admonishes us: “Do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” Even if one who fears Jehovah should be killed by the enemy, the pangs of death are but momentary. (Hosea 13:14) Upon being resurrected, that one will be able to say: “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?”—1 Corinthians 15:55.
16. How did Jesus show fear of Jehovah and glorify him?
16 Jesus himself provides a splendid example for all who love Jehovah’s righteousness and hate what is bad. His fear of Jehovah is reflected in his final words to his disciples, as found at John 16:33: “I have said these things to you that by means of me you may have peace. In the world you are having tribulation, but take courage! I have conquered the world.” John’s account continues: “Jesus spoke these things, and, raising his eyes to heaven, he said: ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your son, that your son may glorify you . . . I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world.’”—John 17:1-6.
Fear Jehovah and Praise Him
17. In what ways can we imitate Jesus’ example?
17 Can we today imitate Jesus’ courageous example? Surely we can in the fear of Jehovah! Jesus has made known to us Jehovah’s illustrious name and qualities. Fearing Jehovah as our Sovereign Lord, we exalt him far above all other gods, including the nameless, mystic Trinity of Christendom. Jesus served Jehovah with a healthy fear, refusing to be entrapped in the snare of fear of mortal man. “In the days of his flesh Christ offered up supplications and also petitions to the One who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears, and he was favorably heard for his godly fear.” Like Jesus, may we too fear Jehovah as we continue to learn obedience from the things we suffer—always with everlasting salvation as our goal.—Hebrews 5:7-9.
18. How may we render God sacred service with godly fear?
18 Later in that letter to the Hebrew Christians, Paul exhorts anointed Christians: “Seeing that we are to receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us continue to have undeserved kindness, through which we may acceptably render God sacred service with godly fear and awe.” Today, the “great crowd” share in that sacred service. And of what does it consist? After discussing the undeserved kindness of Jehovah in providing the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, Paul says: “Through him let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name.” (Hebrews 12:28; 13:12, 15) In appreciation of Jehovah’s undeserved kindness, we should want to devote every hour possible to his sacred service. As loyal companions of the remaining anointed Christians, the great crowd today are accomplishing by far the major part of that service. These attribute salvation to God and Christ, as they stand figuratively before the throne of God, “rendering him sacred service day and night.”—Revelation 7:9, 10, 15.
Glorify Jehovah for Eternity
19, 20. What two kinds of fear will be apparent in the “day of Jehovah”?
19 The glorious day of Jehovah’s vindication fast approaches! “‘Look! the day is coming that is burning like the furnace, and all the presumptuous ones and all those doing wickedness must become as stubble. And the day that is coming will certainly devour them,’ Jehovah of armies has said.” That catastrophic time is “the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.” (Malachi 4:1, 5) It will strike “terror” into the hearts of the wicked, and these “will by no means escape.”—Jeremiah 8:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
20 Jehovah’s people, however, are inspired by a different kind of fear. The angel entrusted with “everlasting good news” has summoned them with a loud voice, saying: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment by him has arrived.” (Revelation 14:6, 7) We will stand in awe of that judgment as the scorching heat of Har–Magedon incinerates Satan’s world. Wholesome fear of Jehovah will be inscribed indelibly on our hearts. May we be favored then to find ourselves among the ‘saved ones who have called on the name of Jehovah’!—Joel 2:31, 32; Romans 10:13.
21. To what blessings will the fear of Jehovah lead?
21 Marvelous blessings will follow, including “years of life” stretching into all eternity! (Proverbs 9:11; Psalm 37:9-11, 29) Therefore, whether our hope is to inherit the Kingdom or to serve in its realm on earth, let us continue now to render God sacred service with godly fear and awe. Let us continue to glorify his holy name. And with what blessed result? Thankfulness forever that we took to heart the wise counsel always to fear Jehovah!
How Would You Answer?
□ What is meant by “the fear of Jehovah”?
□ How did fear of God benefit his ancient people?
□ What model of godly fear did Jesus leave for us?
□ How may we keep integrity in fear of Jehovah?
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In the book of Revelation, Jesus’ brothers are seen singing “the song of Moses,” a song praising Jehovah
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Jehoshaphat’s army triumphs in fear of Jehovah
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Years of life stretching into all eternity will be the reward of those who fear Jehovah