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Sunday, February 08, 2015


I suspect that every one of us has something we fear. At least one. For children it's easy things like "the dark" or "that thing under the bed" or something like that. As we age, we become more sophisticated. Mostly it's the unknown. The more you know, the more sophisticated your fears become. We understand "the dark" and we know there is no "thing under the bed", but marriage or money or position or prestige or pain or employment or ... these things--these unknowns--can be really scary. I read genuine Christians who tell me "I'll never get married" because they see all the hardships and heartaches that occur these days from marital difficulties and divorce. I hear genuine believers who tell me, "I'm afraid of the future because I don't know if I can prepare for it" in things like economic security or retirement. We, even Christians, all have fears.

Interesting, then, that the Bible says over and over "fear not". Further, almost every "fear not" verse you can find is predicated on "I will help them"--God's work. Over and over we read that we have no need to fear because God is on our side, God is at work, God will take care of us. This thinking is epitomized in Paul's "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Phil 4:6) Nice to know.

Equally interesting is this one verse that says to "fear not" and to fear. "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt 10:28) That is, what's going on in this world isn't anything to fear. On the other hand, that is not to say that there is nothing to fear. Fear God. Indeed, that command/warning is another repeated theme in Scripture. God is someone to fear. In a positive sense, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." (Prov 9:10) In a negative sense, "There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Rom 3:18) (That's a bad thing.) James writes, "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder!" (James 2:19) That is, humans (believers and unbelievers) have no problem with God--"no fear"--but demons are smart enough to be afraid of Him.

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when Lucy heard of Aslan, she asked if He was safe. Mrs. Beaver replied, "Safe? Oh, no. But He is good." That's the God we serve. The right response of sinful Man to a Holy God is fear. Anything less isn't sane. Not mind-numbing fear. Not crippling fear. But to fail to recognize that "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Heb 10:31) is not safe or wise. God is someone indeed to fear.

We all have things we fear. I would suspect that the vast majority of them don't actually deserve the fear we give them. Strange, then, that the One who rightly deserves our fear seems to get so little of it. Something to work on, I think.

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