To fear or not to fear: That is the question. When it comes to fearing God, what kind of fear is it?
2 The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.
That’s a pretty dark verse, right? Yet, it was sage advice coming from King Solomon. But, in God’s case, He is all-patience (1 Cor. 13:4) and all-love (1 John 4:8). So, how are we to view God? I was reading in Matthew 10 about when Jesus sent out the 12 disciples ahead of Him to prepare the towns for His coming through. He instructed them in this way:
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. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
In this passage, we have what looks like God as the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell, yet is not to be feared. What gives? It seems we have three choices for who the “one” is.
- Is it God the Father? I have always thought so–until I read verse 31, which tells us to not fear Him.
- Is it Satan? Possibly, but he does not have the power to destroy our soul. So, no.
- Is it ourselves? Definitely a possibility because of James 1:14-15, which says that we are our own worst enemy.
I looked up “fear” in the Strong’s Concordance, and it said, “to frighten, to be alarmed; by analogy to be in awe of, that is, revere.” “Reverence.” Taking this context into consideration, it looks like Jesus is telling them to awe and respect God as their God and King, but trust Him as their Heavenly Father. In order to win that trust, He stepped out of heaven and moved into the world as Jesus. We can trust our Heavenly Father even while having a reverential fear of Him. More on this tomorrow.
Abba, thank You for loving us. It’s apparent in how You allow us to choose to love You everyday. You trust us; may we learn to trust You more and more each day. Your perfect love drives out our fear of You, of death, and even of failing You in some way. Please continue to carry on to completion the process of making us just like Jesus. Amen.