Psalm 19.9a

Turn in your Bible to the 19th Psalm, and stand for the reading of God’s Word. Please read silently, while I read aloud, verses 7-9: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” In these three verses the Word of God is labeled the LORD’s law, the LORD’s testimony, the LORD’s statutes, the LORD’s commandment, the LORD fear, and the LORD’s judgments. Let me direct your attention to the phrase “the fear of the LORD.” “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever.”
Why is God’s Word referred to as the “fear of the LORD?” Because this Bible which I hold in my hand is and ought to be the rule and guide of your fear. It is for that reason that David calls it, “the fear of the LORD.” The Bible is, therefore, a proper object of every Christian’s fear. I think this is also what David meant in Psalm 34.11, where he wrote, “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” “I will teach you the fear,” that is, I will teach you the commandments, statutes, and judgments of the LORD, even as Moses commanded the children of Israel, where it says in Deuteronomy 6.7, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
The Bible, then, is called “the fear of the Lord” because it is the rule and guide of your fear. You see, you and I would have no idea how to fear the LORD in a saving way without the guidance and direction of God’s Word. Deuteronomy 10.12-13: “what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good.”
Those of you familiar with the Old Testament, take note of the fact that when the discarded and long ignored Scripture was discovered in the Temple and was read to good king Josiah for the first time, Second Chronicles 34, God was well pleased that Josiah trembled at the Word of God. And if you are mocked and ridiculed for being a Bible believer, for loving the Scriptures, for trembling at the Word of God? Listen to what the Bible says about the second coming of Jesus Christ and those who tremble at His Word. Isaiah 66.5: “Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” Shame for those at Christ’s coming who did not tremble at His Word. As well, listen to a description of the kind of person who is looked to by God, who is cared for and watched over by God, so that no distress, no temptation, no affliction may overcome and destroy him. Isaiah 66.2: “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
And what about future judgment? The way to escape the future dangers of judgment is to listen to, to understand, and to fear the Word of God. Look at a lesson to be learned from the past in this regard. Exodus 9.20-21: “He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.” Those who feared the Word of God responded properly and escaped God’s judgment of the hail mingled with fire that destroyed everything.
What are some other things we can discover about those who tremble at the Word of God? There are several things to take note of. From Ezra 9.4 we seem to notice that those who tremble at the Word of God are those who are concerned about the sins of their people. And from Ezra 10.3 we find that those who tremble at the Word of God are those whose counsel in important spiritual matters is sought. You can look those two verses up later. We can see, then, that there are definite benefits and blessings that fall upon those whose attitude toward God’s Word is special, cautious, careful, fearful. On one hand, they are those who escape God’s judgment. And on the other hand they are the ones who are looked after and watched over by God. They are not selfish, but are concerned about the sins of their friends and loved ones, while being the right people to seek counsel from regarding the things of God. All these things are related to those who know the dread and terror of the Word of God.
Before my sermon this morning, let me give to you four reasons, suggested to me by John Bunyan, why God’s Word inspires fear, dread and terror in the wise, and should inspire the same in you.


Folks, this Book is the Word of God and in this Book are the Words of God. This is why Moses and the prophets, when they came to deliver their message to the people, said, “Hear the word of the LORD,” “Thus saith the LORD,” and such things as that. And when Ezekiel was sent to the house of Israel in their state of rebellion during the Babylonian captivity, he was commissioned to say to them, “Thus saith the Lord GOD,” Ezekiel 2.4 and 3.11.
This is the honor and majesty, then, that God has put upon His written Word. He’s done this so we might use it as the rule and guide of our fear, and so we might stand in awe of it and tremble at it. When Habakkuk heard the Word of the LORD, his belly trembled and rottenness entered into his bones. “I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble,” Habakkuk 3.16. The word of a king is as the roaring of a lion; “where the word of a king is there is power,” Ecclesiastes 8.4. And who is a greater king than God? Therefore, “The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty,” Psalm 29.4. Because the Author of this book is One Who is Himself terrible in majesty, it is therefore understandable that His Word inspires fear, dread and terror among those who are wise.


The subject matter of God’s Word is the eternal destiny of sinners. I say this because there is no other topic as prominent in the Bible as eternity, the hereafter, and your place as a sinner in it.
All the Bible’s doctrines, counsels, encouragements, threatenings, warnings and judgments relate in one way or another to your status in eternity, your forever.
This Word, this Law, these judgments, is the record of the manner by which God will dispose of you. Jesus said, “The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day,” John 12.48.
Now, if you will grant that after you die you will enter into eternity, and will experience either eternal glory or eternal fire, and that your experience of eternal glory or eternal fire will be to you as is determined in the Word of God, who among us would be so foolish as to deny that you should tremble at God’s Word, and that you should have your fear of God guided and directed by this Book?
Why should you tremble when considering this Book? It is from this Book that we are taught and guided and directed how we ought to fear the God with whom we have to do.


Fidelity means truth and faithfulness. “The Scripture cannot be broken,” John 10.35. That’s why it’s called “the Scripture of truth,” Daniel 10.21, “the true sayings of God,” Revelation 19.9, and in our text for today, “the fear of the LORD.” Every jot and tittle in God’s Word is forever settled in heaven, and is more durable than this universe we live in. “Heaven and earth,” said Christ, “shall pass away, but My Word shall not pass away,” Matthew 24.35.
Those, therefore, who are favored by the Word of God are favored indeed. If you are favored by the Word of God you are favored with the favor that no man can turn away. But be advised that those who, by the Scriptures, are condemned, no man can justify and set right in the sight of God. Therefore, what is bound by the text of this book is bound, and what is released by the text of this book is released. And what is bound and what is released is unalterable. Does this not suggest to God’s people to stand more in fear of the Word of God than of all the terrors of the world? I think so.
There is a greater lack of reverence for God’s Word these days than you might think. It is lack of reverence for the Word of God that lies behind so many spiritual disorders of the heart, and of the life, and of the conduct of one’s life, and in our society. It is lack of reverence for the Word of God that lays folks open to the fearful displeasure of God. “Whoso despiseth the Word shall be destroyed; but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded,” Proverbs 13.13. All transgression begins at wandering from the Word of God. That’s why Solomon wrote, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh,” Proverbs 4.20-22.
If you would reverence the Word of the Lord and make it your rule and guide in all things, then believe that the Word is the fear of the Lord, the Word that stands fast forever, without and against which God will do nothing, either in saving or condemning the souls of sinners. What God does He does only according to His Word, always according to His Word.


There are some here today who have no due regard for the Word of God, and who do not make it your dread and fear. You are ruled by the lusts of your flesh, the desire of your eyes, and the pride of your life. You ought to feel sorely rebuked by this doctrine of the fear of God’s Word. As well, you are accounted by God as a worldly fool. “Lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?” Jeremiah 8.9. That there are people like you who have no respect or fear of God’s Word is evident not only by observing your life, but also by the testimony of Scripture. “As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD,” some men like you once said to the prophet Jeremiah, “we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth out of our own mouth,” Jeremiah 44.16-17. Were those men talking to Jeremiah just mad about something? Or do we not see the same spirit of rebellion around us in our day? Solomon wrote, “there is no new thing under the sun,” Ecclesiastes 1.9. So, the problem that existed in Jeremiah’s day exists today. The Word of the LORD, the Bible, doesn’t really mean anything at all to you. You don’t care what God wants. You don’t care what God’s Word says. You’re going to do what you want to do, what you feel like doing. Understand, you will certainly perish in your rebellion, which is as the sin of witchcraft. And the Word which you despise will still pronounce its judgment on you. And unless you get saved you cannot ever see God’s face with any comfort. Are not the words of God called by the name of “the fear of the LORD?” Then you who love the world and things of men instead of the words of God have an explanation to make on judgment day. I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.
Then there are some of you who will acknowledge the authority of God’s Word, but you will not really bow to it, you will not stoop your soul to it. Perhaps you have your own agenda. Maybe you have your own ideas about things. Whatever you think of yourself, please understand that you are judged by Christ to be ashamed of the Word, so your destiny is the same as the others. Jesus said, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels,” Mark 8.38.

If all these things are true, what will happen to people who mock and condemn the words of God, making them as a ridiculous thing which is not to be regarded? Can they prosper who do such things? If God has put such reverence upon His Word as to call it “the fear of the LORD,” what do you suppose will happen to those who do what they can to overthrow its authority by denying it to be His Word, and by raising objections to its authority?
You are labeled in the Bible as those who stumble at the Word, First Peter 2.8. And that Word that you stumble over will judge you in the last day, John 12.48. Truly, God’s Word is fearful, and worthy of any man’s attention.


Listen very carefully to me. I’m only going to say a few more words to you this morning, and I am only going to say them once. I bring you a message from God. It has been conveyed from the very throne room of God’s regal majesty on high, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God by means of the apostles, to the written Word which I hold in my hand.
This which I hold in my hand is “the fear of the LORD.” Because of its Author, because of its subject, because of its fidelity, and because of what happens to those who reject it, I urge upon you caution, care, consideration, and dread as you hear these words.


Genesis 1.1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

There is a Creator. This is no accident. You are no accident. He is personal, rational and intelligent. He is also omnipotent, all powerful. These are indisputable facts that God makes no attempt whatsoever to prove or establish. They are given, just as He is given.

Leviticus 19.2: “Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.”
First Peter 1.16: “Be ye holy, for I am holy.”

God is holy. It is an essential attribute of His nature. It is something that He is and it is part of what makes Him Who and what He is. Holy has to do with clean. Holy has to do with pure. Holy has to do with right. Holy has to do with moral. Holy has to do with fire. God’s holiness is not a passive attribute. That is, God does not just exist as holy. As holiness is clean and pure and right and moral, so also is it a characteristic of God’s holiness to seek to make holy, to seek to cleanse and purify. Thus, because He is God, Creator and Sustainer of this universe and everything that is contained in this universe, it is within His rights to demand that you, His creature be holy, and demand you He has.


Romans 3.23: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

This is a statement, a conclusion really, about the entire human race, of which you are a member. As God is holy, you are a sinner. As He is by nature clean, you are by nature dirty. As He is by nature good, you are by nature evil. As He is by nature right, you are by nature wrong. The result is, you’re simply not good enough for God. You don’t measure up. By whatever you would care to be evaluated, you come up short.

Romans 6.23: “For the wages of sin is death.”

Sin, which is that unholy and vile nature that is so opposite God, which is your nature, commands its just due, its proper reward. And the just due for sin, the proper reward for the nature that you have, with its animosity toward God and its independence from God, is death. But death is not annihilation. Death is not an ending at all, but a beginning. For sinning an infinite being you must suffer the penalty of an infinite punishment. And the infinite punishment you will endure for your sin is the death of the lake which burns with fire and brimstone throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.

Romans 3.18: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

This is perhaps the greatest indictment against you, showing your most obstinate characteristic. You have no fear of God. You just cannot see fearing God. Imagine having no fear of an infinite Being. Imagine having no fear of a Being of such dazzling holiness and august majesty. Imagine a god of such terror that the holy angels cover their eyes in His presence. Yet not only do you not fear Him, you give no thought to fearing Him and cannot really imagine fearing Him. How proud. How obstinate. How hard you must fall to your destiny.


Hebrews 10.31: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Hebrews 12.29: “For our God is a consuming fire.”

God is unapproachable by you. You dare not try to approach Him, for fear of His wrath, for fear of His holiness, for fear of your own sin. Any attempt to approach God is insulting to Him in the extreme, is a denial of His essential holiness and your essential sinfulness. You are a fool not to believe in this God, and you are a fool to believe that believing in this God is sufficient to accomplish anything. Thus, you are faced with a desperate dilemma. To escape His wrath you must somehow be reconciled to a God you cannot approach and Whose hands you dare not fall into.

John 3.16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

God has a Son. His name is Jesus. His Son, Who is now back in heaven, was born of a virgin named Mary and suffered and bled and died for yours, and rose from the dead after three days. Amazingly, God’s love prompted His to sacrifice His Own Son so “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” So, the only alternative you have to eternal damnation is God’s Son, Jesus. The only alternative. There is no other.

I have told you what I’m going to tell you this morning. And if you were going to listen you’ve already listened. Your fornication, lying, stubbornness, or whatever, shows you lost and in need of Jesus Christ.
If you regard God’s Word, the fear of the LORD, then you will want to talk to me. If not, you won’t.