Today's Devotional

Don't be Afraid to Fear the Lord

by Simon Whitton

For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again,
"The Lord will judge his people."
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Hebrews 10:30-31 (NIV)

At different times in church history certain beliefs and attitudes had greater prominence.  Preachers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were far more likely to describe God as someone who should be feared and to encourage Christians to 'fear the Lord'.  Today, we rarely hear about the fear of God in churches, instead we may hear the more politically correct term: 'reverent respect'.

But the problem with mere 'reverent respect' is that it suggests we don't have to fear God.  Someone who we deeply respect may be someone whose character and values we approve of, a God who fits our view of who a righteous God should be.  As if God is accountable to us in some way.

But God should be feared because it is us who are accountable to Him.  God is not accountable to us in any way whatsoever.  He is the all powerful Judge, it is us who are in 'the hands of the Living God' who 'has the power to throw you into hell'.

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him.
Luke 12:5 (NIV)

The disciples were terrified when God spoke out of the cloud, when Jesus walked on water, and when He calmed the storm.  They were confronted by the reality of God Almighty.

They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this?
Even the wind and the waves obey him!"

Mark 4:41(NIV)

If even the wind and the waves obey Him, how much more should we obey Him?  The fear of God can motivate us to obey Him in situations where 'reverent respect' just doesn't cut it.  Obedience can be a very difficult thing at times, and a genuine heartfelt fear of God can make all the difference.

through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.
Proverbs 16:6b (NIV)

I think the main reason people are afraid to fear God is they believe it will hinder their relationship with Him.  That the fear will in some way come between them and the Lord, or overshadow God's love.  But actually the scriptures say the opposite is true, that those who fear Him have a more intimate relationship with Him.

The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
Psalm 25:14(NIV)

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

Psalm 103:13 (NIV)

There are many other benefits that can come from the 'fear of the Lord', including wisdom, protection for you and your children, wealth, honour and life, to name just a few.

Spend some time in prayer, and confess where you have failed to fear God as He should be feared.  Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you to fear Him, to instill in you a healthy fear of the Lord that will result in blessing.  Pray that it will cause you to obey Him, and that your relationship with the Lord would be deepened.

Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 34:9-14 (NIV)