“They feared the Lord, and served their own gods.” This record is as old as the Bible, but it is as new as today. These ancient people have kin among us in our age. There is at this present time, a generation of professing Christians who say they fear the one true God, but serve another.
Something is tragically wrong when a person can divorce their fear of God from their obedience to God. We are told in the Scriptures to “...fear the Lord...and obey his voice...” It is plain to see, these ancients, along with their modern day contemporaries, have a counterfeit fear. Notice that all the wrong lies in the fear itself. If you’re wrong on the fear, then you’re wrong on everything else.
You can always spot a person with a false fear of God. Yes, they pay Him outward respect, and give Him formal recognition, but that is as far as it goes. This kind of fear is skin courtesy. There is no beating heart behind it. It’s hollow—not holy. These kinds of people give God a passing nod on their way to do something they feel is better.
The Irish have a good saying for a person when they speak without their heart being in it, “He speaks from the teeth out.”