Many years ago, I heard that there are 365 ‘Fear nots’ in the Bible, one for every day of the 365 days that make a year. All it means is that we should not fear any man and anything, even life challenges. The only fear left for us to fear, is the fear of God. The fear of God is not as if God is a mobile policeman or a snake but rather, to reverence Him and heed to His Word. Some people rather fear their fellow human beings, forgetting that, ‘The fear of man brings a snare’- Prov. 29:25.
These people know that when they offend others, they may not get out of it without paying dearly. When they offend God, they rationalise that nothing will happen to them, leading them to the wrong conclusion that God is so loving that He does not punish sinners. The truth is that, unlike man, He is very patient, no matter the sins we commit. It is His nature to be very slow in punishing the offender, bidding him time to repent from his wrong ways, but when He decides to deal with him, there will be no canopy for his shelter.
I will illustrate this with the story of King Ahab and Jezebel, his wife, as recorded in the Bible. God blessed Ahab by allowing him to be the king in Israel. But like many people today, not contented with the vast areas of the land dominating his royal palace, he wanted to extend it with that of Uncle Naboth, his neighbour. Naboth refused to part with the land, irrespective of whatever consideration the king offered him because it was his family land. The king did not cherish that and came home mourning. He could have used force, but perhaps, he feared what God might do to him. Fools are called by that name for daring to go where angels fear to tread. And so it was with Jezebel when she came into the picture. ‘Who really is in-charge, the king or his wife?’ has always been the agitating question when a monarch or Head of State of a country has an ambitious wife.
‘I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth,’ Jezebel told her husband, who she believed, was lily-livered. True to her word, she gave him Naboth’s parcel of land. Naboth thus lost his life and land to the First Lady who had no fear of God in her. When the king, on her invitation, arrived at the vineyard to take possession, he met Prophet Elijah. “Hast thou killed and also taken possession?” Elijah asked him. “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood,” said the Lord to Ahab through His prophet. “Behold I will bring evil upon thee; and will take away thy posterity and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut-up and left in Israel.” For Jezebel, God said, “The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.”
And so it was with Ahab and Jezebel, his wife, but not immediately. While Daddy Elijah gave the prophecy of paying them with their own coins, its fulfilment took place during the time of Uncle Elisha. The evil couple was executed by Jehu, one of Ahab’s soldiers. A whole princess and also the queen, Jezebel, was left with nothing by dogs, as prophesied by Elijah, except her skull, feet and the palm of her hands during her payback. All the 70 sons of Ahab were executed, leaving none to survive him. Heaven and earth will pass away but God’s Word is immutable. This is the undoing of the wicked.
The King of Judah, who did not participate in the murder of Naboth, unfortunately suffered with Ahab and his wife for being unequally yoked with them. We read from the newspapers, all the time, the confessions of people apprehended by the police. Most of them will narrate how they were hired to murder certain individuals, mentioning even the fee. They plead for forgiveness, promising that as they were misled, they would never commit such crimes again should their lives be spared. They were caught, in most cases, because their victims were alerting the top military brass, who might be members of their church, town union or club members, with details of people making suspecting calls to them, inquiring about their home, business address or church. With high technology in communication, it is easy to trace and round them up.
The fear of God would have prevented the King of Judah from participating in evil. When a man fears God, he will forgive whoever has offended him. The fear of God enables him also to realise that God knows every secret of his life. Nobody reported the evil deeds of Ahab and Jezebel to Elijah concerning the assassination of Naboth. God, Who knows everything, was the One that informed His prophet and sent him to confront the evil couple. A person, who does not fear God, will not be aware of this and does what he likes. It is only when he is in the hands of law enforcement officers that he realizes the gravity of his conduct. It has always been good to learn from the mistakes of other people rather than learning from one’s error and sometimes, when the person is paying the price, there is nothing again to learn.
In retrospect, had Ahab and Jezebel been contented with what they had rather than being covetous, they would have allowed Naboth to live and be in possession of his land. If Naboth lived, then they would have also lived. Ahab’s 70 sons would have also lived, and one of them might have succeeded him. Greed brought the problem which was fuelled by lack of fear for God. The King of Judah would have lived had he avoided the company of evil people. May we learn from this!
‘The fear of the Lord,’ says the Bible, ‘is the beginning of wisdom’ – Ps.111:10. “I fear God,” said Joseph to his brothers who hated him and sold him to shut-off his ‘bogus’ dreams. He forgave them because, he feared God truly. It was this fear that made him refuse the sex advances made to him by Potiphar’s amorous wife. It is not in talking but the choice we make, especially in secret, that shows whether we fear God or not. Apostle Peter’s recommendation is, ‘Fear God’-1Pt 2:17.
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