“For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.” – Isaiah 66:12-16
Scripture tells us that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of The Lord (Hebrews 10:31), yet it also tells us that we will never know a greater love then the love of Christ (John 15:13). How can the same God be both love and fury? Why are we to serve Him with all our hearts but also with fear and trembling?
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” – Philippians 2:12
There is no doubt that we serve a God of immeasurable love but with every true love comes a fierce protective anger toward those that either hurt those that we love are that betray our love. The same is true for our God, who being the very embodiment of love, has pronounced His love over us to be that of a spouse jealous for His bride and of a parent defensive over their child. Therefore, understanding our minuteness in contrast to God’s awesome power and majesty, as well as His intolerance for sin, disobedience, and idolatry (which is spiritual adultery), we are to love God with all our hearts for who and what He is, has done, and will do, while at the same time reverencing His Lordship over us, and fearing the possibility of doing anything that would cause us to fall out of favor or right standing with Him.
In the above mentioned verses we read of God’s great love for His children, declaring for them peace like a river, blessings like an over flowing stream, and safety like a child carried on their mothers hip. Yet for those who have stood in opposition to either God or His children, causing hurt to His heart of love for them through unfaithfulness to Him and His commandments, or causing hurt to His kids; He promises that His anger will be kindled against them burning like a fire, fierce and destructive as a whirlwind. Therefore, let us put forth every effort with fear and trembling to avoid being found among these, less the wrath of God come upon us as upon the children of disobedience.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” – Psalms 111:10
“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.” – Psalms 2:10-12
You see, God is merciful, He has not only given us a clear choice and ultimatum but He has literally pleaded with us to do right by Him and for many continues to do so even now, but that pleading is not without end. For each of us there will come a point when your time will be up, His pleading will cease, and then judgement. So how is He pleading with us? The last verse of our main text says: “For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.” (Isaiah 66:16). This is a very literal verse in that it refers to the Tribulations that will be poured out on all in an effort to bring people to their knees in desperation and repentance that they might stop hurting the heart of God and each other. However, it has a spiritual meaning also. The sword in scripture is an archetype for the Word of God, and fire is an archetype for the Holy Spirit of God. So through the truth and convicting power of both the Word and the Holy Spirit, God is pleading with all flesh to be saved, but even still many will choose to stand in opposition to both and be lost.
“For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.”- Isaiah 66:16
The fear of The Lord comes down to this; humility, reverence, and total submission, but above all it’s realizing that God really does hates sin and will judge it. You can not be the children of God and the children of disobedience at the same time, we can not serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). “So choose ye this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15)
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:” – Colossians 3:4-6
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God…The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” – Romans 8:13-14,16
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: (Understanding that) pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I (The Lord) hate.” -Proverbs 8:13
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:7