“Why does God want us to be afraid of Him?” asked my sweet son recently. We were reading a scripture and it mentioned how we should fear the Lord. This is a question that most of us have asked at one time or another, and one we don’t always get a satisfactory answer. I mean, God tells us He is our Father, our Abba, our friend, our protector. . . and then on the other hand He wants us to be afraid of Him? What kind of friend does that?
When we live with a chronic illness we are up against all sorts of things that we can fear. We fear going to the doctor, we fear not going to the doctor. We fear taking the medications and dealing with side effects, we fear not taking the medications and coping with the possibly damaging results to our body. The list can go on and on. Why on earth would God want us to add Him to that list of fears?
The amplified version of the Bible says, “The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.”
According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, “revere” means to “show devoted deferential honor to: regard as worthy of great honor.” When we fear the Lord, it is meant to be because we fully comprehend He is to be given such great honor.
We are to acknowledge that this God in our lives is the same God who said ‘Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) and there was light. . . and this light was not even the sun, which He created three days later (Genesis 1:6). God is all powerful–and loving, and yet, He also can be vengeful when the situation is appropriate for this (Romans 12:19). In Psalm 6:1 David pleads “O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.”
To acknowledge that God is God and He has the right to rebuke or discipline, can be one of the ways we “fear God.” I believe that God wants the best for me. I can expect, should expect, that there will be consequences when I start taking Him for granted, when I let my priorities slip out of order, when I spend money foolishly, when I forget to tell Him thank you for the things He has blessed me with. As my grandma used to say, “You’re getting to big for those britches.” God has a way of drawing us back to Him, and sometimes that path is full of a lot of potholes!
I like the simple version of this scripture from The Messages. It states, “God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones He confides in.” When we worship Him, remember His glory and honor Him, we create a friendship and from that He shares some of the mysteries to help us through those difficult days. We can see how He works out our messes into miracles; though our circumstances may have been the same, we likely would not have seen His hand, if we were lacking being in communion with Him.
Prayer: Lord, fearing You is having a healthy respect, a reverance to You who created the heavens and the earth–and me! It is recalling how You never leave my side through the good times and the bad. Humble me so that I have a healthy fear of You in ways that will strengthen our relationship, not add stress to it.
About the Author:
Lisa Copen is an author, speaker, and the founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill. She lives in San Diego with her husband and 8-year-old son. She is currently writing a book for Christian moms who live with chronic illness. If you are interested in sharing your stories, feedback and confessions for the book, visit her Facebook page at http://MomWithIllness.com .
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When you hear that we should “fear” God, what comes to mind? How have you reconciled these verses? How do you express or see your “fear of the Lord”?