Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
What can make an evil person become a good person? Is fear the true motivation?
It is generally recognized that fear can motivate an alcoholic to become sober. It can also motivate to national reformations, such as that of King Hezekiah, of whom we read: "He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, ... so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah ... He held fast to the Lord, ... and the Lord was with him" (2 Kings 18:1-7). That was when the rebuke of the Lord given in Revelation 3:14-21 to Laodicea apparently did not apply; for once God's people on earth were right with Him in heaven.
The Bible becomes almost eloquent describing the wonderful reformation accomplished by King Hezekiah. But to the extent that fear, even the fear of the Lord, prevailed in Hezekiah's grand reformation, we find that the motivation of fear failed miserably.
When the Lord worked a celestial miracle to signify His healing of King Hezekiah when he became seriously ill, sadly Hezekiah failed to give the honor and glory to the Lord (2 Kings 20).
Good King Hezekiah had a son named Manasseh who, when he came to the throne, reversed all the good that Hezekiah had done. The people followed him as readily as they had followed King Hezekiah!
The history of God's dealings with His chosen people through the ancient ages followed an up and down curve—it was often down, sad to say. Old covenant fear proved to be a weak source of motivation.
In the end of time, there will emerge a special people, "144,000" in number (whether that is a literal or symbolic number is not part of this discussion). Their experience of faith is described: "They sing a new song;" "in their mouth is found no guile;" "they are without fault before the throne of God" (Rev. 14:1-5).
Why this marvelous change? The answer is here: "These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes." Fear has no part in their "Christian experience." They are those who listen to preaching such as that of Paul to the Corinthians when he "determined not to know anything among [them] except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (cf. 1 Cor. 2:1, 2).
This is beginning to happen around the world now!
—Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 8, 2008.
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