Exodus 20: 19 ” All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it , they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.”
Let me stop at this point and say this; if you expect me to now try to calm this all down and make God into Mr. Rogers, just forget about it! We have every reason to fear the God whom we have ignored! There are good reasons, however, that God starts this way in relationship to his fallen, self-absorbed creation. You have to appreciate, yes, even dreadfully fear, what God’s powerful character is, before you really understand God’s grace.
While Proverbs gives the most detailed explanations of what the “fear of the Lord” is; I find this one in Exodus most instructive. Let us read the rest.
Exodus 20:20 ” Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.”
So think about that ; ‘don’t be afraid (of this powerful God; His character is good; it does not change with the wind, like that of men), ‘so that the fear of Him may remain with you.’ In one verse we are told “not to fear,” and then, in the same verse, “to fear.”
Do you see why? At least every parent knows why this has to be this way. Kids have to learn to be afraid of the consequences coming from you very early. If you can be disrespected at the very start, in your raising them, expect them, in the end, to be ruined. You are not there to be a friend but a parent, at that stage. If you do this right, when the kids grow up they have this deep respect for you ; which all started with a good fear.
How is the present day parenting methods working out; trying the indulgent way with kids? Are there those who are still puzzled about the state of society? Are they completely blind? Yes they are, but it started with, “No fear of God before their eyes.” Psalms 36:1.
Deuteronomy 8:1-20 gives the clearest reason to fear the Lord and even shows why we should be more concerned about His commands and instructions than the slavish fear we have of shallow and selfish men and their commands; that is, those not lined up with the will of God.
“In the wilderness, He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.” Deuteronomy 8:16.
I think we can totally trust God with everything we are, everything we hope for, with everything He has given us.
I know it goes well, “in the end.” There is such a thing then as a good kind of fear.
Proverbs 1:7/ 8:13/ 10:27/ 14:26/ 15:16/ 19:23/ 22:4
Now you might appreciate this song you have sung so many times:
” Twas grace that taught my heart to fear; and grace my fears relieved” Amazing Grace- John Newton- 1779