Today’s Blog: Is there a “good” fear?
TODAY’S PROVERB: The fear of Adonai is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10, TLV
Fearing God. I think many of us just blink past these words. I know I did. Or perhaps being afraid of God is a real thing to some of us. Should we be afraid of Him? Before I go any further, I am not a scholar. However, I do love His word and study regularly. For most things, I would probably defer to anyone wiser than me. So, for today, know that this is what I feel the Holy Spirit has shown me.
There are close to 300 Bible references that speak of fearing God. And, as it pertains to today’s proverb, what do all those verses mean to us?
It means, I think, we should dig into this topic a bit more.
Some translations use reverence or respect rather than fear. With all due “respect,” that feels a bit wimpy to me. And then what do we do with those passages that speak of not being afraid? That God’s perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).
When we fear something or someone, we naturally show a measure of respect. I have a fear of an incoming bullet and would respectfully dodge it any way I could. Same with a tornado headed my way. If it’s a person, we naturally assume they exhibit a higher level of strength, power, and authority than us.
The following verses are interesting . . .
All the people witnessed the thundering and the lightning, and the sound of the shofar [ram’s horn], and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled and stood far off. So they said to Moses, “You, speak to us, and we will listen, but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.”
So Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that His fear may be in you, so that you do not sin.” The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.MOSES AND CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, WHEN GOD GAVE 10 COMMANDMENTS, EXODUS 20:18-21, TLV [EMPHASIS MINE]
Did you catch that? Moses says, “Don’t be afraid.” Then turns around and says that God wants His fear in the Children of Israel so they don’t sin. They have just received very specific laws pertaining to their relationship with God, and with each other. The great Creator of the Universe essentially begins by saying He’s a jealous God (verse 5), so He’s serious about Israel loving and obeying Him. So, can we assume this is a different type of fear?
But, what about Jesus?
Our Savior came to redeem us and to restore our relationship with the Father. So, we don’t need to be afraid of Him. He’s not going to open the ground and swallow up the disobedient anymore, right (Numbers 16:29-31)? Well . . . There is Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) that were struck down for lying. As a result, the followers of Yeshua were afraid.
You know what I would fear? The fact that serving GOD is no joke. We can’t mess around and/or think we can get away with things.
And then, there’s what Paul said to the Philippians:
Therefore, my loved ones, just as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence—work out your salvation with fear and trembling.PAUL TO THE BELIEVING COMMUNITY IN PHILIPPI, PHILIPPIANS 2:12, TLV [EMPHASIS MINE]
Is there such a thing as “healthy” fear?
I think so. We do have everyday examples of a “healthy” fear. Say we’re pulled over for speeding. There’s probably a rumble in the tummy and an accelerated heart rate as we sit obediently in the car while the officer makes the long walk to our vehicle. We have a respectful fear because we’ve done something wrong. Those who try to outrun the cop are probably hiding more than a simple traffic violation.
Here’s the thing, our Heavenly Father is holy. He loves us with an everlasting love, but He hates — and I mean hates — sin. He’s destroyed whole cities over sin. He sent a flood to destroy all living things, save an ark of humans and critters.
When we’ve sinned and “wait in the car” as we repent, you can be sure we’re a little anxious. And, that’s okay. It means we’re GOD-fearers and we know we’re out of line.
But it doesn’t end there.
Our Daddy sent His only begotten Son to atone — cover — those offensive sins. He sees His Son’s sacrifice over them. So, we can take our “ticket,” thank Him for protecting us and forgiving us, and go on our way the wiser.
Our repentance needs to cost us, or we’ll just ignore obedience and do it again because Jesus died for it. Not cool. And, perhaps, that’s where the fear comes in. It costs us to stand before the holy Most High God and repent. We can still trust in His love, and Yeshua’s atonement, but have a reverent fear of His holiness.
So, this is where I’ve landed with the fear of God. How about you?