The Fear of God

Part of the mission of this blog is to help readers like you explore what it is you believe and walk you through God’s word so that you can stand on a firm foundation of faith. Maybe you already have a firm foundation of faith…great! Then this material will simply serve as a good reminder for you!

I am much like Dory in Finding Nemo, I am often forgetful and seemingly have a 2-second reset. So if you are like me and need a good reminder…you are in good company!

I believe with everything in me that once you have a firm foundation of faith, you can literally laugh in the face of adversity and more fully enjoy the life God has graced you with.

You don’t have to walk around ho-hum, grumpy, or afraid. Been there…done that! I’m here to tell you that He’s called you to be so much MORE!

So, let’s talk about fear.

I hate to admit it, but fear was an unhealthy best friend of mine for years! What about you? Is fear something you struggle with?

Fear, similar to desire, can either be a benefit or a burden. You might be asking how fear can be a benefit, so let’s talk about that one first.

Fear has a proper place. Hear my heart…I don’t want you to simply take my word for it; I want to show you in Scripture how God feels about the matter. Will you walk with me through some references?

First, take a look at King Solomon, a king of Israel and son of David, who had been granted wisdom by God (2 Chronicles 1:11–12). Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes and the whole book talks about his life’s struggles. He was very real about his inner grumblings. After a long, exhausting, and costly pursuit to get past his struggles and understand the meaning of life, Solomon wrapped it up with this: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” Ecclesiastes 12:13

Wow, is that a weird response or what? After all that searching…fear God and keep His commandments! I’m just giggling and wondering about Solomon’s journey and how many self-help books he would have bought on Amazon if it were available to him at the time??? Seriously, I can laugh because I did it too!

Remembering that Solomon was wise, he expanded his conclusion and gave you the “why” of the matter. Why should you fear God? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7

Remembering that Solomon was also a Jewish man, he was surely familiar with the Torah…the first five books of the Bible.

In the Torah, you will see what God instructed the Israelite people what to do. “Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God. So you shall observe My statutes and keep My judgments, and perform them; and you will dwell in the land in safety.” Leviticus 25:17-18

Isn’t that what Solomon concluded? Somewhere along his search and in the absence of Amazon, he most likely remembered the Torah and thought, Okay, God was right.

God is right, but why did He give the particular command to fear Him? It wasn’t just for the benefit of the Israelite’s safety in the wilderness as they wandered around. It was something much more. “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44

“And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.” Leviticus 20:26

Did you catch that? God is holy. If you are a child of God, and you have been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, then you have a responsibility as His image bearer to be separated and different from the rest of the world…to be holy like He is!

God’s holiness cannot be in the presence of sin, and this simple fact reminds us of the significance of Jesus being our High Priest and mediator…reconciling us to Holy God through His perfect blood sacrifice (Hebrews 8:1-6).

Continuing to learn from the Torah, you will see that Moses had a close relationship with God and was privileged enough to hear God speak. He understood very well how he should respect God’s holiness.

In the passage Exodus 33:12-23, you will see that Moses made a bold request in verse 18; what Moses asked for was to see God’s glory. Moses was so intimately close with God that he wanted more.

Have you ever eat a Lay’s potato chip? There’s a reason they say you can’t just eat one! God is so much better than Lay’s potato chips, and Moses would agree.

God did grant Moses’s request…partially…but told him in verse 20 why He couldn’t grant it in full. God is not as mysterious as some may think. He often spells things out for us, but sometimes we don’t take time to find the answers or we simply don’t like what it is He’s saying….just so you know, I’m preachin’ to the choir here! “But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man shall see Me, and live.’”

Because we are such limited beings, we can’t fully comprehend not being able to look at the face of holiness. I mean…what does holiness look like??? I was trained in my profession to be an accountant, so my instinct is to avoid abstracts and only operate in black and white arenas…so my creativity simply fails me when I try to picture what His holiness must be like!

Holiness. Honestly, if you look at social media or follow politics, it’s fair enough to say that even respect in our culture is a long shot. In comparison, holiness has to be sooooo much more than respect!

If you are a believer, be reminded that you are supposed to be different.

To give you another example, you will see that Isaiah had a similar encounter with God in Isaiah 6:1-8. The seraphim describe God in verse 3 as being holy and the earth being full of His glory. Isaiah’s response to being in the presence of the Holy One in verse 5 was basically to say, “I am a dead man!” Isaiah knew what his sins were, probably more so than you and I!

Again, don’t forget we are talking about Old Testament Jews who had a longstanding history of traveling to the temple, confessing their sins, and atoning for them through sacrifice. How easy is it for you and me to sit at home and neglect to self-examine and make the same confessions to Jesus our High Priest under the new covenant?

Anyways, back to the text…God shows grace in verse 7, takes away Isaiah’s sin, and lets him live! What Moses didn’t get to do…Isaiah was allowed to do…see God’s face…and in that moment, Isaiah knew he didn’t stand a chance before a holy God.

Jesus gave His disciples more food for thought on the matter…again, instructing the proper place for fear, especially as it relates to your salvation! “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:4-7

More than Moses…more than Isaiah…Jesus, the Son of God knows God like no other! Straight up…fear God. God is mighty, all-powerful, holy, and worthy of your fear, but never lose sight of the lavish grace and affection He has shown through Jesus Christ our Savior….and because of Him, we fear nothing else.

Again, if you’re saved by the blood of Christ, you have nothing else to be afraid of! The worst a man could do to you is kill you, which surely wouldn’t be pleasant in the moment, but afterwards you get to have eternal life with Jesus in Heaven. We are warned…if you don’t have Christ as your Savior, then you have a HUGE reason to fear!

Now that you know that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and wisdom lead you into obedience, and obedience has many benefits, therefore you are able to draw a line directly from healthy fear to benefit.

Assuming your salvation is secure (if not, you can reach out to me through the contact page), your big take away from this post is that fear only has one proper place in your life…fear God.

But…what if you honestly are afraid of lots of other things? Do you worry about finances, work, health, relationships, etc.?

Now, let me briefly talk to you about the burden of fear. If you have fear, you already know the noose that hangs around your neck. No need for me to state the obvious.

Hundreds of times in Scripture we are instructed to not fear. Referring back to Luke 12:7, Jesus says that every single hair on your head is numbered! You have ENORMOUS value, so much so, that He knows every detail about you…even your deepest fears. He already knows them, so why not confess them and let Him heal you from the chains of worry, anxiety, and fear?

Stare it in the face, friend! He will give you the courage to take a long look and show you how to overcome it. Trust Him.

Oh…yes, I do know, beloved. Trust is such a complicated word. Would you agree? It’s so easy for me to toss that word out there, but yet it’s so stinkin’ difficult to do sometimes!

Here’s your encouragement: let the holy fear He commands be the instrument for you to walk in a path of obedience and blessing (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

I won’t lie to you. I could give you an easy 3-step process to shake your fears. And I will, if it helps you, but the nitty-gritty truth is that it takes enormous surrender on your part to break free of the stronghold and bondage that fear keeps you in. Trust me, I’ve been there too! If I had to break it down into a simple written list here’s what I would suggest for you:

  1. Humble yourself before Holy God.
  2. Passionately seek Him and His truth.
  3. Believe and DO what He commands.

I told you the steps were simple! Have no fear, He will give you ALL that you need to shake the fear that holds you back. Can I suggest one more thing?

I highly, highly, highly recommend the bible study Breaking Free by Beth Moore and watching its DVD sessions in the leader kit. I used it to break free of many issues I was having during a divorce, including fear, and I still use it today as a tool to help other women struggling. Why reinvent the wheel when you already have a solid tool at your disposal? One more thing, when you get the study, do all its homework, will you? You won’t regret it.

I would love to hear from you! What fears do you have and how are they squashing your God-given desires to pursue a more abundant life?

I truly hope this post helps you to stare fear in the face, and with His help, you are able laugh every time the enemy says “Boo!” and attempts to push you back into the bondage of fear!

Standing in the Source of our strength, Jesus Christ,

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