Deuteronomy 10:20a – You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. (NLT)
Being around something or someone that I'm scared of is not my favourite thing to do.
I have had fears of both real and imaginary threats. My fear was based in reality when bears entered a fellow camper's campsite and devoured their food — twice. My son and I were camped in a three-sided shelter a mere 50 feet away. The same bears could have easily walked into our shelter and harmed us. As a child, things that I was afraid of in the dark could have been real or imagined. Though my dad was fond of saying that there was nothing in the dark that wasn't there in the light, I never believed him. Some dangers are present at night that aren't during the day. But some of my fears associated with darkness were of imaginary things.
Early in life, my dad taught me to fear the Lord. At the same time, he wanted me to love Him. I don't normally love or choose to be around those I fear. If I fear them, I perceive that some sort of danger hangs around them. It seemed like an ironic situation to love and fear God, and I was unsure of how to do both.
The command combines fear, worship, and association. If we usually avoid what we fear — but God wants us to worship and associate with Him — there must be another definition for fear … and there is. Fear can also mean reverence, and this is the definition that God has in mind when He tells us to fear Him.
When I reverence God, I will stand in awe of Him. In one sense, I should fear Him. He has life and death power over my existence. With the utterance of one command, my heart would stop and my breath cease. He is sovereign over people and the universe.
Though fear can involve fright, God wants us to love and revere Him. So great was His desire for fellowship with people that He allowed His Son to die for our sins on Calvary. I stand in awe of Him, but I also consider Him to be my Saviour and friend. He has accepted me into His family and invited me to come into His presence as often as I like.
Let us allow our fear of God to lead us to Him … not away.
Prayer: Holy and gracious God, we love You for Who You are and for what You've done on our behalf. Amen.
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