The Fear of the LORD

Many of us are guilty of it. We don't even realize the consequences. How often we have trivialized the fear of the LORD. He is awesome we say; majestic, full of splendor and we should be awed by His presence. That is as far as we go. We dare go no further.

One of the consequences of such a take on the fear of the LORD is that we too casually enter His holy presence. He's our Heavenly Bud, Our Big Brother, our Tolerant Father. We may not use these words but they adequately express our attitude to the LORD of Hosts.

When we talk of the fear of the LORD, we often forget about Nadab and Abihu and the fire from heaven that devoured them (Leviticus 10). Our minds don't revisit the Spirit's reaction to Ananias and Sapphira's lying spirit and their judgment in Acts 6, a New Testament example of God's wrath on sin. Even much of Revelation escapes our notice, yet all of these provide a fierce context to that which we do focus and it represents the black velvet upon which the jewel shines.

Let me explain. We love verses like this: "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy" Psalm 103:8 (NKJV). However, for every occurrence of God's grace and mercy, one can find one like this: "For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD" Exodus 12:12 (ESV).

God's grace, mercy, pardon, and His long-suffering on our sin has a context that is the black velvet against which all of those sweeter to our ears attributes of God shine. We love the jewel but, dare I say, reject the canvas upon which the jewel shines all the brighter. It is God's wrath upon our sin in all of its fearsome, humbling, paralyzing power and holiness that gives meaning to His love, grace, mercy and most wonderfully of all, the substitutionary atonement of our Lord. He bore the wrath of Almighty God upon all of our sin on that cross. It wasn't a casual, light-hearted spanking from a permissive Father but a divine pouring out of His justice, His holiness, and His judgment on sin.

I hope that today, as you enter the Most Holy Place in prayer, that you will have dwelt on the fear of the LORD. It is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7) and wisdom (Psa. 111:10). Now doesn't this bring new meaning to God's forgiveness? Let me know what you think.

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