Yet, one can’t read the Bible without encountering the oft-repeated admonition to “fear the Lord.” Throughout the Old Testament, there are numerous examples of God’s children receiving a blessing because they fear God. Also, because of fearing God, they do what He commands them to do. (Genesis 42:18; Exodus 1:17; Exodus 18:21)
Fear of God is not just an Old Testament concept, though. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Nevertheless, there are times in my life when I’ve struggled with the concept of what it means to fear God. That’s why, when I recently came across a definition of fearing God in Drew Dyck’s book, Yawning At Tigers: You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying, I spent time meditating on it.
Dyck says, “To fear the Lord is to be grounded in reality, to have an accurate view of God’s holy nature and his awesome power.”
Fearing God doesn’t mean we cower in His presence—like a dog who knows he’s displeased his master—nor does it mean we run and hide instead of joyfully approaching Him. Instead, we embrace the fear of God because we recognize His to-be-feared characteristics, such as His all-powerful wrath toward sin, His unending sovereignty, and His unapproachable holiness, are an accurate understanding of who God really is.
The fearfulness of God is a reality, even if we don’t like it very much.
Having a true picture of God is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
I live in Norman, Oklahoma. That means I know what’s it’s like to watch a mile-wide tornado approaching my city. It’s a fearful thing. However, if I’m hunkered down inside an indestructible storm shelter, I’m able to be in awe of the storm’s fierceness without fearing for my life.
We should fear God. We should be in awe of His wrath and His judgment. Yet, at the same time, we should have peace, knowing He is shielding us from wrath, sheltering us in His arms forever.
What does a question the Sadducees asked of Jesus have to do with a secular movie about intergalactic space travel, wormholes, and quantum physics?
Although the movie’s basic plotline centers on mankind being forced to search for a new Earthlike home because this present Earth’s resources have been devastated, several questions were raised by the characters in the story as to a “Being” or a “They.” At least one of the characters believed “They” were trying to help earthlings leave the planet for a better existence far beyond Earth’s present galaxy.
(At the end of the movie, a definite conclusion was reached about this “They,” but, in case you haven’t seen the movie yet, I won’t spoil it for you by revealing the identity of “They.”)
What most moviegoers have difficulty dealing with in the movie—besides its three-hour running time—is the physics of space, time, and gravity. These concepts are an integral part of the story, and, yet, they don’t concern most of us as we go about the reality of our everyday lives. In fact, many of us can’t begin to connect with these scientific facts and/or theories, even when they are presented in a movie through entertaining methods.
After watching the movie, I pointed out to my husband I felt Jesus encountered this same difficult-to-grasp concept when He tried explaining to his disciples the life awaiting those who accept His offer to live with Him in His Heavenly Home for trillions upon trillions upon trillions of years—eternally, forever, infinitely.
I referred him back to a gospel story in Matthew 22 describing how the Sadducees attempted to trap Jesus by describing a scenario involving multiple husbands. They asked Jesus, “Whose wife will she be in the resurrection?” When Jesus gave his answer, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God”(Matthew 22:29), it completely silenced these learned men.
I believe they were silenced because they couldn’t—like all of us—begin to grasp the concept Jesus described—a place where the relationship between a man and a woman, whether husband or wife, was really relevant to human existence.
The possibility of living eternally with the Creator of the Universe in His home, as His child, in a perfect environment, without sin and without evil, is as remote to some people as the possibility of traveling through a wormhole. Yet, scientifically speaking, although there is a possibility the latter does exist, Jesus guaranteed the former isn’t just a possibility—it’s a promise He made to us and for us, and He paid for it with His own blood.
Even though such a way of life is as foreign to us as life on the other side of a wormhole, we are given a few pinhole glimpses in His Word to the world awaiting those who believe. I find these descriptions as interesting and intriguing as black holes, space travel, and exploding nebulae.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer, will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-5)
From doctors to news commentators to politicians, weight is a big issue today. (No pun intended.) In our America society, with an abundant supply of food and a lack of exercise, it’s easier than ever to add a few extra pounds. But due to health problems associated with being overweight, health care professionals warn against allowing those few extra pounds to turn into a few more, and a few more, and a few more, and lead to obesity.
However, there’s another kind of weight the Bible says should be added to our lives. It’s the “weight” of glory. Glory originally meant “to weigh upon” or “to be heavy.” That definition, better than any other, has helped me to understand the meaning of the word glory.
Thus, the Bible’s admonition to glorify God simply means we are to give him added weight, to treat Him as heavy, as a substantive Being.
Here are three reasons your “weight” of God should increase:
First, the command of God demands it. “Give Him the glory due unto His name” Psalm 96:8.
Second, the character of God requires it. “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary” Psalm 96:6.
Third, the claim of God calls for it. “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God” Isaiah 45:5.
Weigh in on God today. (Pun intended.) Treat him as overwhelming in your life. Magnify what He’s doing. “. . . do all to the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Put on a little weight to the glory of God.
Some authors lamented their publishers weren’t being aggressive enough in advertising their latest release. Others felt their own methods had failed to generate sufficient sales. Yet, both were engaged in time-tested efforts book publishers usually employed to market books, getting them in the hands–and, thus, the hearts–of readers.
Since my new release falls into the Christian fiction category, what interested me most about these posts were comments by Christian authors. Several of them posted they had felt led of the Lord to write their book, yet many posted they weren’t happy about they way the book was selling. Did that mean they felt, even though God had been in charge of their writing the book, that now He wasn’t in command of how their book was selling?
Sometimes, when it appears God is leading us in one direction and we commit to that course of action, the results are not what we anticipated. We expected success, and we experienced failure–or, at least, less than successful results.
I believe this is a common misconception when it comes to feeling led of the Lord to do something.
Just because I felt led of the Lord to initiate a project, support a cause, or engage in some personal pursuit, and His hand was on me in the doing of it, that doesn’t mean, when it comes to the results, I’m suddenly in charge.
God is still in charge when it comes to all outcomes–not me and not you. Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
This is a common theme throughout the Scriptures, but as self-sufficient, self-determining human beings, we failed to remember or perhaps just refuse to heed, what the Lord is saying to us on the subject of who’s in charge.
Isaiah 55:8-11, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways . . . it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
What are your plans today? Will God be responsible for the results or will you decide to assign the blame–or maybe even the credit–to yourself?