Healthy Fear

Photo by Kristian Stokholm

I was driving home in the rain last night and I had this sudden thought that driving was actually a little bit scary. It only takes one small mistake to have dire consequences. I mean, we’re dealing with a fairly powerful machine, which can do an incredible amount of damage when in careless hands. I think it actually helps to have a little bit of fear when driving. With it, one is more observant of the traffic around us, one takes off slowly at intersections, one keeps a safe distance, etc. It is when one gets too cocky, or over-confident, or complacent, that accidents happen. On the other hand, too much fear would stop us from ever getting into a vehicle.

Then it occurred to me, that this should also be our approach to God.

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.” [Proverbs 14:27 NIV]

When Israel was in the desert, after they had been miraculously freed from Egypt, the Lord began to show them His ways. He appointed priests and gave them strict instructions on how they should approach The Holy One. In spite of all the wonders and miracles they’d seen, the Israelites often began complaining and grumbling.

In Numbers 16, a few men decided that Moses and Aaron shouldn’t be the only ones able to approach God. “We’re all holy. What makes you better than us?” They dared to assume they could get away with it and came before the Lord with censers filled with incense. The result of their actions was their death – the earth swallowed them up.

Photo by Geri-Jean Blanchard

Now, I’m not saying God is waiting around to smite everyone who puts a foot wrong. If we feared Him too much, we would never go near Him. We are now under the grace and salvation of the Lord Jesus, which gives us freedom to approach Him. But, that does not mean we should tread lightly. Even though we can come before the Lord as our father, brother, friend, ultimately He is still God – the Almighty, powerful, creator of the universe. And that is just a little bit scary … don’t you think?

“Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” [Hebrews 10:28-29 NIV]

“I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” [Leviticus 11:44 NIV]

Published in: on 28th February, 2012 at 5:18 am  Comments (4)  
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