And Joseph said to them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:
This fear should daily control every Christian. No influence on the feelings, or the character, can be more salutary. What greater preservative from wrong can there be in youth, than the constant presence of a parent, whose feelings we regard, whose opinions we respect, and whose judgment we reverence. And if the presence of a parent is so salutary in restraining us from transgression, how much more so must the impression be, that we act in the view of the Almighty? And how appropriate to the condition of an immortal being is the state of mind, which is described in the saying, "I fear God." "I fear God." I know He is here. He is everywhere. I cannot go from His presence, nor flee from Him. To live, and move, and be in the presence of so great and adorable a being, cannot but excite emotions of awe. It cannot fail, if rightly considered, to produce a salutary fear in the heart of every child of Adam. "I fear God." He knows all my actions. Not one of them has been concealed from His view. The sins of my childhood are known to Him. They are written in His book. The iniquities of my youth are kept in His remembrance. The transgressions of maturer years are not hidden from His eyes. No palliation nor excuse can cause Him to take a different view of them from that with which He beholds them. He understands my thoughts. "There is not a thought in my heart, but He knows it altogether." There is no operation of my intellect, which He does not readily perceive. The subterfuges, which a perverted heart, or a soul full of prejudice, cast over its own doings, do not conceal it from the Most High. He knows all my opinions. If interest, or the fear of man, or the pride of consistency shall influence me to give, as my view of facts or of truths, a sentiment at variance with what seems to me to be according to truth, He sees it all. He fully comprehends the hyprocrisy of the transaction, and abhors the iniquity. He knows my motives. He knows what it is in us that moves us to retain His Word in our families; what it is that influences us to come to His house; what it is that incites any of us to profess to be His disciples. He knows all our feelings. There is no affection in our hearts which is not entirely open to His view. I fear God; for He is holy. To some, it may seem strange that the holiness of a being should be a ground of fear. But there is no other consideration which invests the character of Jehovah with such fearfulness, as that of His holiness. And this is as true of those who are holy, as of those whose sinfulness exposes them to His indignation. No other trait is more prominent in the character of devout men, than the fear of God. And this reverential regard for Him does not abate, even when the soul becomes perfect in glory. When John had a view of the heavenly world, he heard them "sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, 'Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glory Thy name, for Thou only art holy!'" "I fear God"; for He has a settled aversion to sin. This is His nature, and He is immutable — immutable in His attachment to holiness, and in His opposition to sin. Now, who that knows the holiness of Jehovah, and His constant abhorrence of sin, will not fear Him? Can a human being, who is convinced that he has violated the law of God — who understands that during many years he was constantly engaged in rebellion against Him — who feels, that even if he has been born of God, he has not been perfect, but is chargeable every day, in the view of Infinite Holiness, with many transgressions — can he live without fear? Considering the strength of his unsubdued propensities to evil, will he not be apprehensive that he may incur the displeasure of a Holy God? "I fear God;" for He inflicts severe chastisements, even in this life, on such of His people as wander from Him. "I fear God"; by Him I must be judged. All my deeds, my words, and my feelings, must pass His scrutiny and receive His sentence. Do you say, if I am a Christian, I ought not to fear? The Saviour has not thus instructed me. "I will forewarn you," said He to His disciples, "whom ye shall fear — fear Him who has power to destroy both soul and body in hell; yea, I say unto you, fear Him." In view of such a Judge, who will not fear? Now, if such a fear of God occupy our souls, then it will be impossible not to speak reverentially respecting Him. Again: If this fear of God be in us, we shall have a happy influence on others. Our conversation will evince that there is something in our hearts, which is not known to the world, nor felt by such as are alienated from God. Our lives will tell to all around us that there is something in the fear of God which is calculated to diffuse a heavenly savour over all cur feelings and actions. In ways innumerable — in ways which, it is impossible for us to describe, or others to see — a grace will distil on those around us like drops of the morning dew; and blessings of immeasurable value, and eternal duration, will descend upon them. Brethren — let the fear of God dwell at all times in your' hearts; for "to that man," said Jehovah, "will I look, who is humble, and of a contrite heart, and who trembleth at My word."
(J. Foot, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: