Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
I. WHAT IS THE PROPER AWE AND FEAR WHICH IS DUE FROM MAN TO GOD? Distinguish between a servile or superstitious, and a filial or religious fear. The former we are to avoid as a dishonour to God; the latter we are obliged to as an indispensable duty, the true spring and motive of our Christian obedience.
II. SOME CONSIDERATIONS WHICH OUGHT TO POSSESS OUR SOULS WITH THIS AFFECTION TOWARDS THE DEITY. Can we reflect on the infinite knowledge and omnipresence of God, and not stand in awe of that Being from whom even the most secret thoughts and intentions of the heart are not concealed? Or, can we remember that He is infinitely just, without a religious concern for the event of that day, when we must appear before His impartial tribunal? But the attribute which especially demands this affection from us is His power. None can resist or interrupt the execution of His will; He has power to save, and power to destroy; nor is He accountable to any for His dominion over us. But these arguments arising from the perfections of the Deity will yet more effectually possess us with this reverence, if at the same time we reflect with a just humility on ourselves. That we are indigent, defenceless beings; the dependants of His providence; so far as we know, the lowest of all intelligent beings, whose strength is weakness, and whose wisdom is folly. And, what is yet a more mortifying consideration, we have provoked this Almighty Power by our sins; have affronted His goodness, despised His counsel, and rebelled against His authority.
III. THE INFLUENCE THIS AFFECTION WILL HAVE ON THE CONDUCT OF OUR LIVES. In general, the effect of this fear will be a sincere, universal obedience to the commands of God. The awe of His majesty will keep us from presumption, and the promises of His mercy from despair: for, as is His majesty, so is His mercy. If this principle were thoroughly fixed in the minds of men, we should be ashamed of hypocrisy, and tremble at profaneness; neither hope our treachery could escape the notice, nor our blasphemies the vengeance of God. This affection will give warmth to our zeal, and spirit to our devotion; will animate our faith, enliven our hope, and extend our charity; will deter us from sin, and encourage us in our duty.
(J. Rogers, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.