FEAR has been defined as “False Evidence Appearing Real.” But what if the evidence isn’t false?
I have never seen You bring sudden destruction on a land and a people in clear and immediate fulfillment of words You spoke through Your prophet (e.g., rivers of blood, plagues of frogs and gnats and flies and hail and locusts and boils… even the death of every firstborn male). (Exodus 7:14-12:30)
I have never seen you literally part the Red Sea, so Your own people could escape imminent annihilation. I have never seen You close the Red Sea over your enemies, bringing the sounds of their chariots, horses and terrified screams to silence. (Exodus 14:10-28)
I have never seen a husband and wife literally drop dead in the presence of Your apostle (Peter), after lying to him (to You) about the true value of their contribution to the church. (Acts 5:1-5,7-10)
I have never seen You like John did, when he was in exile on the island of Patmos. John, who was part of Your “inner circle”… who knew how much You loved Him. He saw You in a vision, with Your eyes like blazing fire, Your feet glowing like a burning furnace, Your voice like the sound of rushing waters. (Revelation 1:12-16)
I have never seen such things. So what was the response of those who did see?
Pharaoh said to Moses, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go worship the Lord… And also bless me.” [He finally couldn’t wait for them to leave… and he’d seen enough of what You were capable of, Lord, that he wanted You to bless him!] Your people, still wet from the splashing waves as the Red Sea settled, “feared” Youand put their trust in You and Your servant Moses. “Great fear” seized the whole church and all who heard about the couple who had lied to You and died. John fell at Your feet “as though dead.” And You placed Your hand on him and said, “Do not be afraid.”
There’s something here… isn’t there, Lord? Something important. Elusive, perhaps — in this day when so many are preaching a seemingly “easy” grace that says our present and future sin “doesn’t matter” once we have been “saved.” I wonder… Is that what Ananias and Sapphira thought? Members of Your church, whom You described as “lying to” and “conspiring to test” Your Holy Spirit? (Acts 1:3,9)
There’s something wonderful — even beautiful — about “fearing” You, Lord… isn’t there? How could this be possible? It seems counter-intuitive. Yet, I sense this… though I can’t yet grasp it.
Help me, Lord. I can tell this is another one of those “places” in the Spirit where I cannot go on my own. Lead me, Lord… and give me eyes to see this new “territory.” To see it and to explore it… so I can know it and embrace it. So I, too, can bless You by dwelling there… and reap the blessings of Your Presence there.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.” (Proverbs 9:10)
“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power.” (Proverbs 8:12-14)
“The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” (Proverbs 19:23)
So, what’s not to like???
But I must say, Jesus… The passage that got my attention the most was the one that spoke of YOUR fear of the Lord!
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord — and He will delight in the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:1-3a)
That’s where I want to be, Jesus… wherever You are delighted to be!