Ps 55:19 says, “Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.” The fear of God is one of the most essential things in the Bible. Solomon said that to fear God and keep his commandments is the whole duty of man [Ecc 12:13]. Yet, Paul said that the trouble with men, in general, is that “There is no fear of God before their eyes,” [Rom 3:18]. God wants you to fear him. If you are willing to listen and take instruction, he will teach you the fear of the Lord [Ps 34:11]. He knows that you and I don’t come by his fear naturally.
The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge [Prov 1:7] and wisdom [Prov 9:10]. That is, you don’t even begin to know anything worth knowing and you don’t even begin to have proper wisdom until you fear God. The fear of God is the starting point. The Lord is the one who gives wisdom, and he doesn’t give it to people who don’t fear him [Prov 2:4-7]. Instead, he makes their wisdom foolish [1 Cor 1:20].
What David is saying in Ps 55:19 is this. Many people don’t fear God because they have no changes. When they have met with a setback, they have just kept going on the way they were going… no change. When you look back in your life you can see times when things didn’t work out like you expected. How did you handle those times? Did you stop and consider that God might have been trying to get your attention?
In Num 22:22-33, God intercepted Balaam along the path he was taking to go to King Balak. The first time, the ass he was riding turned aside to a field. The second time, the ass thrust herself into the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot. The third time, the ass fell down and wouldn’t move. Then, miraculously, the ass spoke to Balaam. Finally, the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes so he could see that God had been an adversary to him all along the way. And Balaam never stopped to realize that God was trying to get his attention. God let Balaam go on to the king, because he wanted the king to hear Balaam bless Israel [Num 23-24].
Even after the three times God blocked Balaam’s progress, and the three blessings, and the prophecy concerning Israel’s future, Balaam never changed. He never feared God. He advised King Balak to invite Israel to sacrifice to their gods and to commit fornication with the Moabite women [Num 25:1-3]. For this, Balaam died when Israel destroyed the Midianites in a later battle [Num 31:8]. Consider this. There were seven or eight events that should have convinced Balaam to change his ways and fear God. But he never did.
If you are one of God’s children, he is going to chasten you [Heb 12:5-11]. And when he does, when he changes your plans, you had better fear God and make the changes in your life that he wants you to make. I look back on my life and I can see definite times when God blocked my plans, set me up for a huge fall, allowed trouble to come my way, and so forth. He was trying to get my attention. And he did. God made changes in my plans and, eventually, I made the changes in my life God wanted me to make.
Look how God changed Naomi’s plans in the book of Ruth. Naomi finally got the message. It was time to head back to Israel. And fortunately, Ruth went with her. Ruth feared the God of Israel. And look how things turned out for her. Naomi’s daughter-in-law ends up marrying Boaz and her first child is in the live of Jesus Christ. God’s plans are always better than ours.
When you consider Peter’s life during the earthly ministry of the Lord, Peter was always impetuous. He rebuked the Lord in Matt 16, when Jesus told them he was going to die and rise again. Peter should have just listened and kept quiet. Later, he swore that he would never be offended and forsake the Lord. He would die with him before he would ever do anything like that. However, Peter didn’t realize how the Lord was setting him up for a major fall right before the crucifixion.
In Lk 22:36-38, the Lord told his disciples to get some swords. They had two. Peter ended up with one of them. When Peter used that sword to cut off Malchus’ ear in the garden, the night Jesus was arrested, Jesus rebuked Peter and healed the soldier. That offended Peter and Peter ended up denying the Lord. Peter never saw that change coming.
After the denial, when the cock crowed, the Lord looked at Peter and Peter went out and wept bitterly [Lk 22:61-62]. Peter was never the same after that. God changed Peter’s plans and Peter made the changes God wanted him to make. Do you know what Peter wrote in his first epistle? In 1 Pet 2:17, Peter wrote, “Fear God.” He learned the important lesson that so many Christians today have never learned.
God is going to keep changing your plans until one of two things happens. You’re either going to fear him and start making the changes in your life that are good for you or he’s going to just back off and let you go. And I’m telling you from years of experience in the Bible and in the ministry, you do not want to end up where God just lets you go. I have seen untold casualties among God’s children when they refused to fear God.
In Is 1:4-7, God said to Israel, in so many words, what’s the use of striking you anymore? You’re just going to revolt more and more. And so he just let them go. In Hos 4:14 he said, “I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom…”. In Amos 4:4-13 he said, “Come to Bethel and transgress…”. He just let them go. When you get to that place, you are destined for a bad ending. Consider the history of Israel after this. Consider what they’re going to go through in the Tribulation before they finally get right with God.
The best thing you can do when you see those unexpected changes occurring in your life is to get on your face before God and see what he’s up to. If he’s behind the changes, then you’d better fear him, first and foremost. Once you fear him, he can then direct you with his wisdom and knowledge to make the changes in your life that will yield his peaceable fruit of righteousness. His ways are so much better than ours!! Fear God.