Throughout the bible we read of the “fear of the Lord” and its so easy for us to reason that it’s obviously best for us to be fearful or terrified of God. Believe me there are a lot of good reasons for being fearful, but God wants a relationship of love rather than fear. So how do we put the fear and love together.
Psalm 118:4 Oh let those who fear the LORD say, “His loving kindness is everlasting.”
Those of us who have experienced the reality of a relationship with God have also recognised just how terrifying it would be to be without Him. To be honest the greatest fear in my life is being without God as I know that I can’t really trust myself or anyone else to get me to the finish line or even live reasonably in this world.
King David in the bible is a prime example. He, his officers and his people had offended God greatly and when asked to choose a punishment he asked to fall into the hands of God. You see even in punishment it was more fearful to fall into the hands of men than God. David was fearful of being outside of God’s control of his punishment.
The Psalmist knew too well the fear of being cast away from God and wrote – Psalm 51:11 Do not cast me away from Your Presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
You see “the fear of the Lord” is exclusively for God’s people because only they can fully understand the fear of being without the One who has redeemed them from death and having rescued them from a faith and trust in themselves, which always leads to disaster.
Moses knew the fear of being without the God if Israel and knew that only with God was Israel different from all the other nations.
Exodus 33:15-16 Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. “For how then can it be known that I have found favour in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
This then is the beginning of wisdom, for to understand that your own power, skills, abilities, education and connections are useless and destined for failure makes you appreciate that total surrender to the Lord of Life is the only life there is. The fear of what it would be like to be outside of His presence will keep you following Him.
“True perfection consists of having one fear: losing God’s friendship” GREGORY OF NYSSA (AD 329 – 390)
This is the fear that God wants. It’s the fear of the little child, who looking around for its parents, suddenly breaks down in tears because they “aren’t there”
Just like that little child you are to cling to Him and fear the very thought of living a life directed by your own will and intention.
Deuteronomy 10:20 “You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name.