As described in my last post, I am excited to be discussing and growing in the fear of the Lord with you during the month of October. 31 days (and 32 if you count today). Links to each post during the month can be found at the bottom of this post. Here we go!
Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “the fear of the Lord”. Or the command, “fear God”. Or a “God-fearing” man or woman. What in the world does that mean?
Why should we fear the Lord? And who is He anyway? Hopefully, some of the answers to these questions will be discovered by us in the coming weeks.
Well, first of all, I am referring to the God of the Bible. And obviously He’s pretty scary if the Bible refers to the fear of Him hundreds of times…right? “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13b). So my whole duty is to fear Him and do what He tells me to do? Hmm.
Yet, the Bible also says that “God is love” and “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:8, 15). So there is no fear in God and God actually casts out/expels fear – this is the same God we should supposedly fear? A bit confusing. I can’t count how many times I’ve had conversations, or overheard conversations, with people and friends who have this, and many other issues, with God and the Bible. Scriptural contradiction. A dictator-like god who just wants our obedience. A god who oppresses his followers. Watches while we suffer. Sucks the fun out of life. Lots more. I don’t want to take any reservations about Him or His Word lightly. I’ve had a great many of them myself.
But, over the past several years, I have found the answer to be yes. This is the same God – one worthy of our love and our fear.
The key to the validity of both of these ideas is found in the word “fear”.
If I am hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains and happen upon a black bear – a mama black bear, a large, aggressive-looking mama with some cubs nearby – the appropriate human response is fear. I know this bear is bigger, stronger, and ultimately more powerful than me. She could see me as a threat to her kids, or simply as a possibility for dinner (I honestly don’t know much about black bears or their diets, but just go with it.) If I don’t get out of her sight soon, an attack is very well likely.
Unless, of course, I knew the bear at all. Her personality, her desires, her thought processes. What if the bear likes humans and was delighted to see me, and had no intention of attacking me? Was on my side? Was good? What if I got to know the bear and we became such great friends that she considered me one of her own children? (I believe I feel you laughing at me now…).
Though Friend Bear retains her bigness, her strength, and her power, I am confident she has no intention of attacking me. I’ve spent time with her, I’ve talked with her. I know her. But like any good mom, she’s going to protect her children from any person, animal, or other force that will hurt them. A marvelous, admirable creature.
Having a friend like Friend Bear, you’re not afraid for your life anymore. You’re safe. And you’re in complete awe that you have a friend who has the power to end you with a strike of her paw and a grinding of her teeth. But she’s chosen not to. She’s good, she’s kind, and she ferociously loves you. She’s the Queen of the Smokies.
The “fear” I have for the Lord is a little like that.
The 31 Days Library
Day 13: The Ongoing Story
Day 14: What Will They Think?
Day 15: Half-way(ish) Through
Day 16: Self-forgetfulness
Day 18: Fearing and Flying
Day 19: What Makes Us Cute
Day 20: Unite My Heart to Fear Your Name
Day 21: WWJD at a Wedding?
Day 23: Cared For and Loved
Day 24: It’s Him
Day 25: The God Who Hears
Day 26: The Good Shepherd > The Thief
Day 27: Affections, Attachments, Loves
Day 29: That’s My King!
Day 31: Leads to Life