She mentioned that in the past, the expression “Fear of the Lord” to her meant something like reverence, a respect toward Him and His Word, a sense of awe maybe, but still feeling comfortable in His presence.
However, when she did a study on the word Fear, looking into the Hebrew meaning, it wasn't anything like the cosy feeling we have gotten used to in Western thinking.
“Fear” to the Hebrews meant meant FEAR, being afraid, trembling!
“But wait a minute…” I hear you exclaim, “this isn't the God WE know -- the God of the New Testament , the loving Father that Jesus told us about! Jesus made a way into the Father's presence! You're talking Old Testament legalism!”
Partly true, but did Jesus always present the Father as the huggable daddy we like to think?
Matthew 10:28 WEB* Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
Same meaning for “fear” in the Greek here.
Who is this referring to? Satan hasn’t got that authority.
As Karen challenges us: Do we really know the One we are worshiping? Apparently the Israelites didn't, thumbing their noses at Him and going down their own self-centred path in spite of all He had done for them. He was incredibly patient and gave them many chances to change their attitude but they refused to listen. Then the consequences hit and they realized what they’d done, but too late.
Things haven't changed much under the New Covenant either. What do we do with Ananias and Sapphira? They lied to God’s face, with greed in their hearts, and thought they’d get away with it.
Let's not be deceived. God is not mocked. What we sow,we'll reap.
So….. Is God this wrathful God up there waiting for us to sin so He can zap us with a thunderbolt?
Absolutely not! For us, His anger only lasts for a moment. And it takes a lot to stir Him up. He shows far more patience and forbearance towards us than we do to each other!
I like to see it like standing on the edge of a tall cliff. Looking down, it gets a bit scary! I have no intention of challenging the Law of Gravity.
But is that legalism or a lack of courage on my part? No way! It's a healthy God-given sense of self-preservation.
And that's the only strong foundation of our relationship with a God of magnificent integrity, totally free from any of the self-centredness and impure motives that often characterizes us. (The old English word is “holiness”. Nothing to do with religious activity!)
This is why we should bow, trembling before a God of unimaginable power -- enough to create the whole universe, and could disassemble it with just a word. You just don't mess with a being like that if you have any sense at all.
Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…”
But is that all there is to it?
Far from it! It’s just the beginning of something totally awesome!
Let's discuss that in our next post.