Monday, August 11, 2014

The Difference Between Fearing God and Having a Fear of Him -- Exodus 20:20-21

--> And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain within you, so that you may not sin.”  So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.
 
One of the many legitimate roles for a priest is to reassure people that they need not be afraid of God.  And at this point in the story of the Children of Israel in the wilderness, Moses does just that.  Reassuring others with the Truth is a job given to all believers.  Each of us who has accepted Christ as Lord and Savior is a priest – I Peter 2:9 in the New Testament tells us that.
Here in this current passage in Exodus, Moses tells the people why God came down to them in this way.  It was, he said, “to test you”.  This is a common theme in Scripture and a reality in life that many do not like – God tests us.  We wish He did not.  Sometimes He tests us by allowing us to go through some very hard challenges – like the loss of our job, our spouse or child, news of a serious and potentially fatal illness, and so on.  Sometimes He tests us with opportunities that perhaps we should not take.  There is no limit to the extent of God’s ability to test us in ways we ourselves cannot image.  His way of thinking is not our way of thinking, nor His actual ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8).  When we accept God for Who He truly is, we accept His right to test us in any way He wants.  If we have trouble with that concept, then we will have trouble living a life in close relationship with Him.
In this case, God tested the people of Israel in order that “the fear of Him may remain in them”, not so they can fear Him – there is a difference.  Let me try and explain it to you in the following way.  I know some of you will disagree with my illustration given your thinking with respect to, and love for, animals, but let me take that risk anyway.
As a child, I feared pitbull dogs and I had the fear of my father in me.  It did not matter what I did or did not do, I was terrified of pitbull dogs.  The only thing that would save me from that fear was to remove myself from being anywhere near them.  With my father on the other hand, I knew that I did not need to fear him for if I obeyed his instructions, I was perfectly safe and sound, and even happy to experience the new adventures he could lead me through.  But if I went my own way, as a child, the fear of him that I had in me, would turn into real fear of him.  My dad did not change; I changed.  Through my disobedience I was actualizing “my fear of him in me” into straight “fear”.  The fear of himself that my father instilled “in me” was intended to keep me safe – from cars, accidents, etc.  When I disobeyed, his love for me turned into my real and very present fear “of him”.  When I decode that, I realize that this happened because my dad wanted me to stay alive and not get hurt.  And why was that?  I believe it was because he loved me.
And so it is with God and the Children of Israel here in this passage.  God wanted them to have “a fear of him in them” so that they would not sin.  And He wanted them not to sin so that they could have an eternal relationship with Him because He loved them.  It is as simple and as complex as that.  We may not like it, but that is how it is.
What remains is for us to ask, “Did the people hear Moses? Did they understand and accept what was happening?”  We do not know.  What is more important though is when we consider the ways and how often God tests us – sometimes for our own development in addition to the reason of wanting to instill some fear of Him “in us” – do we understand?  Do we accept it?  And do we act accordingly, or do we fight it with all we have?
The Bible says in this verse that the people continued to stand at a distance, while Moses went up to where God was.  Moses was able to go up closer to God.  He understood; he accepted.  I believe in the same way we can be closer to God if we accept His ways.  And if you think about it, it is in fact, “His way or the ‘low’-way.”
-->
_____________________________________________________________________

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.  And while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.  Ken.
________________________________________________________________________


Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

No comments:

Post a Comment