Since we live in a day where there is no fear of God in the land, both in the church and in the world, we have to believe then there has not been instruction on the fear of the Lord. That makes sense, as there is little instruction on repentance. We have repentance when you fear the Lord. The word duly means “in a proper manner.” Vocabulary.com gives this example. “When something is done duly, it's expected, and it's considered proper or right.” As a Christian it is expected according to the word of God that you fear the Lord.
Take King Uzziah who was 2 Chronicles 26:5 “sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” Then we are given a list of His accomplishments. “His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful.” Fearing the Lord means we will seek God for everything and never do anything in our own strength nor will we take credit for what our hands have made. Fearing God and seeking Him go hand in hand as do the results that come from seeking and fearing. King Uzziah had become an amazing king until he forgot what he was duly taught. 2 Chronicles 26:6 “But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. 18 They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God. 19 Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the Lord’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. 20 When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the Lord had afflicted him.
21 King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house—leprous, and banned from the temple of the Lord. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.” 2 Chronicles 27:6 “Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God.”
So King Uzziah was instructed in the fear of the Lord, which led to his success. “He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” I think there is a part of us that is afraid to learn about the fear of the Lord because it will mean we have to change. Think about people going to hell for a moment. Is it not easier not to think about than to think about it? It takes the pain and sorrow away from it by not thinking about it but it does not make it any less real. It would also means that most who do not fear God would have to repent and change their ways. This always involves big decisions from spiritual to personal day-to-day decisions. In spite of this lack of desire to fear God, we must learn to fear once again as it will cost us greatly. We need to ask what has happened because we refuse to fear God and seek him? It is pretty obvious that God has turned his face from us in our day and has for some time now. Yet even though Nehemiah 9:29 “You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’ Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen.” Hebrews 12:25 “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?”
We need more leaders, like Ezra who are willing to teach the fear of the Lord. Ezra 7:6 “This Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. 8 Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. 9 He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. 10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.” Notice the gracious hand of God was on him. You will see that Ezra led in the confession of their sin. Ezra 10:1 [ The People’s Confession of Sin ] While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly.
Nehemiah tells us Nehemiah 8:2 “On the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. 4 Ezra the teacher of the Law stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam. 5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 18 Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God.
For many the word of God has just become a book on the shelf. Sadly for many it is a collection of stories that many do not believe possible for today but the God we serve is the everlasting God. Isaiah 40:28 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” If we would once again fear the Lord his gracious hand would be upon us but we must be duly instructed to repent and fear the Lord God and be like the people who listened to Ezra. Nehemiah 9:3 They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.” It would be good for us to do the same. Psalm 96:4 “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.”