The Best Fear

I’m sitting next to a lady in a board meeting this morning, and she’s brushing something away. I asked, “What was that?” She answered, “A spider!” Quick as a flash I wrote out the phrase to the left and passed it to her. Because I was trying to be helpful, that’s why!  🙂

Here are some of my favorite fears (not mine fears personally, just some that amuse me. Except metrophobia – fear of poetry – I’m all over that):

Geniophobia: Fear of chins

Paraskavedekatriaphobia: Fear of Friday the 13th (the day, not the movies, don’t be watching that rubbish)

Ablutophobia: Fear of bathing (if you have this just stay downwind)

Pantophobia: fear of everything (Charlie Brown’s)

The Best FearZeusophobia: fear of God or gods (don’t over-analyze this. Not saying you should fear Greek gods – it just fits with the list….sheesh).

People today do not like to talk about the fear of God. Because fear is a bad!pablo (1)

Everyone wants to be all,
“I’m Fearless” and
“No fear” and
“I Ain’t Skeered” and stuff.

And many Christians don’t want to talk about fear at all in relation to God (and it is true that a Christian has no fear of judgment from God). Some of you right now are wringing your hands that I’ve written about fear and God together in the same sentence.

In spite of our hand wringing, way back in the Old Testament God says (it’s God’s Word right?) the “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” Proverbs 9:10.

In the early church, in Acts 2:43 – NIV says awe came upon all the people. That word “awe” is an incomplete translation. Acts was written in Greek, and Greek word was phobias – phobia, fear.

When we think of “awe” – we think of looking at the stars, seeing a sunset, seeing the mountains.

But it is much more serious than that. Peter preached to these people a short time earlier and said: “God made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified,” (Act 2:36). He’s saying, “you KILLED JESUS!” Their response? To CRY OUT (caps mine) “what shall we do?”

Wrong “great and powerful” one.

So they are considering this great God whose Son they killed – a God to be feared! Acts 2:43 says “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.” It was the natural response to understanding the great and powerful God (not Oz-this great and powerful one is no man behind a curtain).

A short time later, Ananias and Sapphira were killed by God for lying to the church, and the same word is used and translated, “fear” came upon the church Acts 5:11.

It seems like we have to deal with that word “fear” along with the word “God”.

With the fear of God, it’s a both/and situation. Both love and fear. 

Let me see if I can give you an example that helps us understand better.

I used to love Batman. Forget the Batman of the old 60’s TV show. I’m talking about Batman from the recent movies. Back in the 80’s, when the first one with Michael Keaton (really? Mr. Mom??) came out, there was a scene before Batman was famous. No one knows who he is, and he’s capturing a criminal.

This is how I remember a scene from that movie (don’t run to watch it, it won’t live up to my memory):

They’re in a dark building. Batman comes out of the shadows, out of nowhere. The criminal is trying to fight back, shoot back, but he can’t even lay a hand on Batman. Out of the darkness comes a punch, a trip, and finally the guy, in desperation and exasperation, cries out “WHO ARE YOU?” And in an instant, Batman is in his face – and in a low voice says “I’m Batman.” Then BOOM, Batman comes down on him like a ton of bricks.

It is a fantastically incredible moment in the movie (I’m yelling this enthusiastically right now)!!

It’s incredible because Batman is terrifying, powerful, seemingly invincible, uncontrollable, mysterious, and dangerous!

You don’t have to fear harm IF you do good, but the fear is still there. It makes you watch your step, be careful, walk a straight line. You don’t want to get on Batman’s bad side. But you want him in your town! Because Batman takes it to the bad guys.

That’s something like the fear of God.

God is to be feared! It is true that He is a God rich in love and abounding in mercy to those who run to Him. But it is also true that He hates and judges sin and sinners.

God is:
terrifying
powerful
invincible
uncontrollable
mysterious
dangerous 
but…He is good.

God is unlike any other. When I see the wickedness in the world, when I’m concerned about the future, when I hear of evil men doing unspeakable things to the defenseless, I don’t need a kindly grandfather in the sky who pats everyone – good and bad alike – on the head and mutters soothing and meaningless words.

No – in the face of relentless and ruthless wickedness, I need the God of Revelation 19:15: From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations…He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

That is a God who has the kindness and the power to right all wrongs. And who is to be both loved and feared.

When I think of that God in the middle of the dark night…I’m able sleep because He is in control.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10.

God Speed

 

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