The last post that I wrote, spoke about how my son fears me (click here to read that post). I compared the fear that a child has for parent to the fear that I have for God. I felt the need to add some clarity to this issue because fearing God is a concept that many people have a hard time understanding. God is Love. God died for our salvation, so why should we want to fear Him?
To start off this discussion, I feel that it is only right to point to Biblical scriptures that will help me explain my point.
The first versus I will point out are the reasons why, we should fear the Lord:
- Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
- Proverbs 8:13 – To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
- Proverbs 3:7 – Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.
Basically what all of these versus say, is that when we fear God we are denouncing evil. To put this in a way that you can understand. Think of it this way. If you are in need of money really bad, some people will rob a bank. These people are those who have no fear of the law or no reverence for anything. They are people who put their own needs above what it right. For most normal people, what keeps them from robbing a bank is that they do not want to get caught. They do not want to go to jail, it is too risky. So the laws are what keep us honest. It is the same way with God. God knows everything and He sees everything. There is no running away from Him. So when you do evil, God sees it and He has the authority to punish you. Yes God is forgiving, but He will punish you when you do wrong. Because like the robber, if the robber is not caught; he will go and rob again and again and again and again. God has to punish us so that we do not go about wreaking havoc on the world and destroying ourselves in the process.
Take this verse:
Matthew 10:28 – Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
There are two parts to this verses that I want to point out. I will go with the previous theme about God punishing us first and how it pertains to the verse I just gave you. To put it bluntly, God can send us to hell. He has the ability to do that. In fact He has the ability to do just about anything He wants. I mean let’s get real. In the Old testament God would literally strike people dead on the spot for disobeying him. During the days of Noah, God flooded the Earth and killed all of its inhabitants because of their sin and disobedience. He killed Lot’s wife for looking back after He told them not to. God is the same in the Old Testament and the New Testament. And sin is still in the world today. What angered God then, still angers Him now. God has the authority to strike us all dead and to destroy the Earth all over again if He wanted to. It was only when Jesus came that He extended us grace and you do not see people getting stricken down dead for telling a lie or something. But my point is the fact that God has the ability to do this, is something to be feared. But God chooses not to. Knowing this should make you want to get on your knees and thank God for not issuing out the same punishment to you for your sins. Doesn’t it make you afraid that if God chose to do so, if He really wanted to, He could wipe us out forever because of our sinful nature?
That is something to be fear. Because there is power to His name and what He can do. And by His mercy He does not give us what we deserve. But just because God chooses not to send us to hell does not mean that He can’t. My point is that we should never downgrade God so much that we forget that He is all powerful. And at the blink of an eye He can chose to do whatever He wants to use, but His love us keeps Him from doing that.
Let’s get to the first part of Matthew 10:28. This verse is also telling us that the only one that we should ever fear is God. Not people, not man, not our bosses, not the robbers on the street; we should only fear God. It was man that crucified Jesus. But Jesus made the point that whatever authority man thought they had over Him was given to them by God. Meaning that whatever happened to Jesus was God’s will. Because God has the ultimate say so. Not man. And therefore, we should fear no one but God, because God has the ability to “destroy both soul and body in hell” not a man.
The last subject I will broach is why we should fear God. Read the following versus.
- Ecclesiastes 12:13 – Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
- Deuteronomy 10:12 – And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
The main reason why we should fear God is because if we love Him then we should know His ability and we should fear it. As mentioned above He has the ability whip us out. But most of all, it is our duty to fear God. To walk in obedience to Him. I will share a personal story. There was a time way back when, when I told a little white lie. That lie came back to haunt me in such a major way. It hurt be financially and it hurt my moral character. I remembered thinking, why was I being punished for this little white lie that so many people have done.
God answered me
“Because you had no fear for me. You thought that you could disobey me and do something I specifically told you not to you; and because you were a Christian I would let you get away with it. Now I am punishing you in this way, so that you know to never disobey me again with telling lies. No matter how small you think the lie is”
As a result, I try my best not to lie. If someone confronts me with something, even if he hurts me. I admit the truth. I fear God to much to repeat my mistake. I fear the consequences that another disobedience in this area will bring.
“For the LORD disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as his child.” Hebrews 12:6
God punishes us to remind us of what is right and what is wrong. And to remind us that we should never get so Christian that we think it is okay to sin in His face and call it okay. Sometimes He needs to instill the fear of God in us, literally, so that we do not continue on the path of damnation. God is our father and our friend. But He is also one who is worthy to be feared. I do not say that disrespect God. But to give him the reverence and respect that He is deserving of.