“We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.” Christian Nestell Bovee

What Bovee said is especially true of our relationship with our Father. We are afraid of God because we really do not know Him very well. We think we do. We hear a lot of different interpretations about Him, which give us a pretty good idea of who He is. So we think we know Him very well. But do we? What do you make of this passage of scripture?

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,” Deuteronomy 10:12

It sounds like to God, you are pretty much nothing more than a bond servant, and He wants you quaking in your sandals every time you serve Him, doesn’t it? And this other verse does not help either.

“Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.” Psalm 2:11

It seems like even when we are happy, we are not allowed to be happy. God is a real killjoy, isn’t He?

Yet, there are these passages of scripture.

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,” Psalm 33:18

“The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.” Psalm 25:14

“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.” Psalm 34:7

God protects those who are scared of Him? So being afraid is a good thing?

No beloved, this is just a misunderstanding; and the limited lexical complexity of the English Language only makes things worse.

There are two phrases used to record the phrase ‘fear of the Lord’ in the Bible, ‘Yirat Adonai’ in Hebrew, for the old testament; and ‘Theosebeia’ in Greek, for the new testament. And translated, they both point to being in a state of reverent awe at the glory of His presence in our lives. And if we think about it, if we consider the people who came into contact with our Father and then with Jesus in the Bible, we can see that if we pay attention to Him working His miracles in our lives and intervening to make sure that we are well taken care of, we will be extremely conscious of His power which should make us be in awe of Him, His power and His love for us.

Think about it, when Jesus was walking the earth, He healed the lepers (Matthew 8 and Luke 17), He healed the lady with the flow of blood (Mark 5), He raised Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5) and Lazarus (John 11) from the dead, He turned water into wine (John 2), He healed Peter’s mother from her fever, He did distance healing on the Centurion’s servant (Matthew 8), He made the blind to see (John 9) and the lame to walk (John 5) and forgave sins. If you were any one of those whose life has been by Him, would you not be in awe of His power?

Remember how the lady with the issue of blood responded to Jesus?

“For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”” Mark 5:28

Then after the healing, when Jesus turned to face her,

“And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.” Mark 5:32-33

There is your ‘fearing and trembling’ right there. But why? She was clearly in awe of Jesus’ power, she herself admitted to it. But why the fear? It was because,

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Command the children of Israel that they put out of the camp every leper, everyone who has a discharge, and whoever becomes defiled by a corpse.” Numbers 5:1-2

She had the wrong idea of Jesus. She thought that because the law of the day, given by God no less, demanded that she, who had a discharge of blood, be declared a social outcast and excommunicated from society; Jesus would hold her condition against her. But did He?

“And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”” Mark 5:34

Not only did He not withdraw from her or rebuke her, He made her His own and called her ‘daughter’; and since Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), He holds no ill for you as well. For remember beloved,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

So that is why,

“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:27-28

No wonder then Paul is able to say,

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus took our sins, our guilt and our punishment, so that now, we are right with God our Father. And that means that there is nothing left for our Father to punish us for. And that is why we need not be afraid of God.

So then, Deuteronomy 10:12 should really be read like this.

“So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today—live a good life.” Deuteronomy 10:12-13 [MSG]

Be in awe of His awesome power, but more than that, be in awe of His unfathomable love for us, because

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Then live the good life, for He came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10) because He knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper us and give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Beloved, if we truly know the depths of His love for us, then we will realize that,

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever.” Psalm 111:10

For we will know that

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge.” Proverbs 14:26

And because of that,

“The fear of the Lord prolongs days,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.” Proverbs 10:27

So we will be protected, provided for and most importantly, loved by our Father. No wonder then, beloved,

“The fear of the Lord leads to life,
And he who has it will abide in satisfaction;
He will not be visited with evil.” Proverbs 19:23


“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:27

Beloved, if ever the world makes you afraid of our loving Father, remember this,

“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.” 1 John 4:17-18 [MSG]

Indeed, perfect love casts out fear. Jesus is love. So Jesus casts out fear. Know Him well, beloved, and you will never be afraid of our loving Jesus any more.

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