Fear of God (Pt. 3) — Who God is and who we are

We can never forget who God is and who we are. We are God’s creation, made in His image, and He has a special care for us because of that relationship. But that relationship has been marred by the Fall, and we now are condemned to die and deserve the unmitigated wrath of God as a result of sin. We can never forget this or take grace for granted.
Even more important is remembering who God is. As C. S. Lewis says of Aslan, ‘He is not a tame lion.’ Even when we know that we are on His side and He is fighting for us, the element of unpredictability can be a fearful thing. We never know what He might do next. When the disciples expected Him to usher in a new kingdom where all would be well, instead He lays down His life, and their world is turned upside down in a different way. Even if we know that He is for us, it is still scary to face the unknown.
Sheer power inspires fear. God speaks and things happen (Psalm 33:6). He simply blows a puff of breath and we are destroyed (Isaiah 40:24, Job 4:9). No one can even stand in His presence (2 Chronicles 5:14). We can’t look God in the face without protection — God had to hide Moses in the cleft of the rock to let his see just a little of His glory (Exodus 33:22)

When I really think about God, it kind of blows my mind… I have gotten used to thinking of Him as my Father, who loves me, understands me, sacrificed for me — He is the only constant that I can trust. But when I think about Who this is that I have this amazing relationship with, I’m astounded — speechless.

Let’s never forget that ‘fear of the Lord’ is good and right — power must always be respected, and yes, even feared. Our God is thrice Holy… and being in the presence of Almighty God is rightly overwhelming. Abraham fell down before God (Gen. 17). Isaiah saw the Lord and cried out:

“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)

 

 

 

Fear (Pt. 2) — Our God is ‘To Be Feared’

One of the neglected names of God appears in Psalm 76:11 — maybe it is not one of the hyphenated names, but it is an accurate representation of His character and was a primary way that Israel identified the God that they worshipped.

 Psalm 76

In Judah God is known;
His name is great in Israel.
In Salem also is His tabernacle,
And His dwelling place in Zion.
There He broke the arrows of the bow,
The shield and sword of battle. Selah

You are more glorious and excellent
Than the mountains of prey.
The stouthearted were plundered;
They have sunk into their sleep;
And none of the mighty men have found the use of their hands.
At Your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
Both the chariot and horse were cast into a dead sleep.

You, Yourself, are to be feared;
And who may stand in Your presence
When once You are angry?
You caused judgment to be heard from heaven;
The earth feared and was still,
When God arose to judgment,
To deliver all the oppressed of the earth. Selah

10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise You;
With the remainder of wrath You shall gird Yourself.

11 Make vows to the Lord your God, and pay them;
Let all who are around Him bring presents to Him who ought to be feared.
12 He shall cut off the spirit of princes;
He is awesome to the kings of the earth.

And what is the main reason for fear before Him? He has the power over our eternal destiny. Others may harm us physically and temporarily, but He is the one who can destroy body and soul eternally (Matthew 10:28) Without this sobering reality, we can never fully appreciate the gift of grace we have been given.