Ephesians 4:7-16; Fear of God revisited, part 3.

Class Outline:

Wednesday August 18,2021

Reading Psa 37 this morning, I thought it was very appropriate to our current historical situation.


PSA 37:1-19

Do not fret because of evildoers,

Be not envious toward wrongdoers.

2 For they will wither quickly like the grass,

And fade like the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;

Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

4 Delight yourself in the Lord;

And He will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord,

Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

6 And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,

And your judgment as the noonday.


7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;

Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,

Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;

Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing.

9 For evildoers will be cut off,

But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.

10 Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;

And you will look carefully for his place, and he will not be there.

11 But the humble will inherit the land,

And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.


12 The wicked plots against the righteous,

And gnashes at him with his teeth.

13 The Lord laughs at him;

For He sees his day is coming.

14 The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow,

To cast down the afflicted and the needy,

To slay those who are upright in conduct.

15 Their sword will enter their own heart,

And their bows will be broken.


16 Better is the little of the righteous

Than the abundance of many wicked.

17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken;

But the Lord sustains the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless;

And their inheritance will be forever.

19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil;

And in the days of famine they will have abundance.


Remember that we all, all believers in the church, were called so that we would be holy and blameless. A wonderful thing is here said of the blameless - the Lord knows their days.


The Greek translation of “the days of” (yom) is tas hodous, which means “the way of”.


PSA 1:6

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish.


The Septuagint translators may have had Psa 1 in mind. There is no real discrepancy since our life (time) is our way. But God knows all, so He knows the days and the ways of both the righteous and the wicked. But with the righteous, God is active in their affairs (Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms), and so the way of the righteous is the way of God, and in this way He “knows” it, for that way is His own. The next line states, “And their inheritance will be forever,” which is in accord with the fact that the works and ways of God are eternal, since He is eternal. His essence is one. No matter what chaos may happen around us, and no matter how many wicked are using up most of the resources (vs. 16), we have the wonderful privilege of working the works of God, which for us shall be a lasting inheritance. We can add nothing to God, but He sure can add much to us.


Psa 37: 5-6

Commit your way to the Lord,

Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

6 And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,

And your judgment as the noonday.


The disciples’ problem was their littleness of faith and lack of prayer.


Why did the disciples overlook prayer? We can imagine many reasons they might have, but this scripture is written for us to ask ourselves why we fail to pray. The reason they neglected prayer is not at issue. The reason why we do is. If we could interview each disciple today and ask them why they didn’t think of prayer, we would probably receive several different answers. We cannot pinpoint the reason why they didn’t pray in that instance.


God is asking us in His scripture, “Why do you neglect to pray to Me when things are hard and confusing and beyond your power to overcome?”


Still, we’re not done with this event; much like God is not done with an event in our own lives when we think He should be. When Jesus sees that the crowd and the disciples are amazed at His greatness, He takes the disciples aside and confesses to them that He will be [Mark’s account] “delivered into the hands of men, to be killed, and after He is killed, He will rise three days later.” If any of us were His disciples then, at any time this statement would have thrown any of us for a loop, but to hear it after being amazed by His visible greatness and glory, it would have been absolutely mysterious and bewildering.


When the multitude and the frustrated disciples witnessed Jesus easily overpower and evict the demon, giving much needed relief to the boy and his broken-hearted father, He takes the disciples aside and admits that He will be so overpowered by man that they will kill Him, but then He would rise from the dead, and that, three days later. He does not give detail about rising: bodily, as a spirit, in some mystical way.


The disciples were amazed at His greatness over impossibly powerful demons, and feared His profession of submission to men.


LUK 9:43-45

But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, 44 "Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men [and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later: Mark]." 45 But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they might not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.


It made no sense at the time. He could easily remedy the hardest exorcism, but He would be powerless over men who were powerless over demons. They were fearful of asking Him of the meaning, and of the significance of the statement.


MAR 9:31-32

For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later."  32 But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.


It must be that in our journey to “attain the full knowledge of the Son of God” (EPH 4:13) that there will be many moments like this, where the depth of God’s character and actions are either so different or so much more wonderful than we thought, that we practically fear treading where Christ wants us to go, but we must find the courage to go and see, and to do this many times over in our Christian lives. Also, we must be wise enough to avoid the errors of Solomon and Job and not wholeheartedly rush into things that God tells us not to. This action is brilliantly depicted by Alexander Pope in An Essay on Criticism, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”


It is likely, as it is for most people in this situation, that the disciples feared to ask Jesus because they feared “losing acceptance and worthiness in His eyes, and possibly other’s eyes.” [Anderson, Into His Presence, p. 81]


It is the same fear that we all have of asking a stupid question to someone we admire. Better to keep shut out of fear of losing a position of intimacy. God is inviting us to ask, seek, and knock, but with genuine humility and meekness.


LUK 11:9-13

"And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. 10 "For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. 11 "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 "Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"


The parable of the neighbor’s persistence in asking for bread does not mean that God needs to be asked more than once, but that we don’t always see the open door and fail to enter, we must return and ask, seek, and knock again.