Thursday, July 2, 2009

Never Be Afraid of God Again

There is a special quality in the heart of man that pleases God so much He literally calls it His treasure. Because of this desired characteristic, God promises some amazing and unparalleled blessings:
no want (psalm 34:9),
He will teach in the way He chooses (Psalm 25:12),
the eye of the Lord is upon him (Psalm 33:18),
a fountain of life to turn one away from the snares of death (Proverbs 14:26)
strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge (Proverbs 14:27),
the angel of the Lord encamps all around him (Psalm 33:7),
the secret of the Lord, a sharing of intimate covenant relationship (Psalm 25:14),
the compassion of a father toward his children (Psalm 103:13),
an everlasting to everlasting mercy upon him, and righteousness to grandchildren (Psalm 103:17),
He will be their help and shield (Psalm 115:11),
motivation and ability to depart from evil (Proverbs 16:16),
a person’s days will be prolonged (Proverbs 10:27),
leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction, he will not be visited with evil (Proverbs 19:23),
riches, honor, and life (Proverbs 22:4).

Many people have probably guessed this must be the rewards for loving whole-heartedly or walking in righteousness or practicing forgiveness. However, this heart attribute that is God’s pleasure is the fear of the Lord.
How can this be? Learning to not be afraid of God is one of the greatest comforts that comes from experiencing His great love, for perfect love casts out fear. Therefore, it is almost inconceivable for many people that God would want his people to learn fear. However, before we reject this concept, it behooves us to examine what the Scripture is talking about and understand what this heart quality truly is.

From the Bible definition in Proverbs 8:13, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.” God is seeking to transform the heart of fallen man to have the same hatred of pride, sin, and evil that He has. It seems to start with an awareness of how great, how compassionate, how totally good God is. Psalm 33:8 speaks of His greatness of His creation and wisdom and instructs that “all the world stand in awe of Him”

However, the concept is much more than perceiving His majesty and reverencing Him. There is something supernatural about having this reality because in Psalm 25 God himself promises to teach the fear of the Lord to those who are willing. Proverbs 2 declares that those who seek and desire God whole-heartedly will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. We are instructed to choose the fear of the Lord in Proverbs 1:29 by His showing what happens when this choosing is absent.

God is so good. He desires such a tenderness toward Him that we are one with His heart and love. Fear of the Lord is that internal specialness of our relationship that causes us to hate anything that would lessen or harm this incredible closeness and union with Life and Love Himself. We walk humbly because in our heart of hearts there is such gratefulness to be chosen to be His, a revelation of His character, and such longing to respond to His love in a complete pleasing way. Therefore, take time to ask and let Him teach you and cradle you in the fear of the Lord, enjoy incredible blessings and benefits, and never be afraid of God again.

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