The Fear of the Lord
I was raised by two parents both of whom had preachers for fathers. My mom’s dad was a Freewill Baptist hellfire and brimstone preacher. I remember him pounding the pulpit begging sinners to come forward to receive Jesus and become born again. He was only like that at the pulpit. He was very kind and loving. He died when I was only 12, but I have very fond memories of loving him very much (I named my son’s middle name after him). My dad’s dad was very very old when I was old enough to have memories of him and he had retired from preaching by then, so I only have knowledge of his preaching from my brother and sister who are older than I am as well as my parents, but I know his denomination (holiness pentecostal) was very legalistic. They teach that you can fall from God’s graces very easily.
As a result, I had a “Wizard of Oz type of fear” of God. Remember when Dorothy and friends went to the wizard and they shook in their shoes and the tinman was rattling in fear, the scarecrow was falling all over the place and the lion ran out scared to bits? That was my fear of God at an early age.
Since I never felt I could match up to these expectations, I resisted my salvation till I was 17 when God really called me hard through a series of events not related to my family’s teachings. I remember very well the night I told my mom and dad that I’d been saved. As preacher’s kids, both of them should have been thrilled that their child had “come home”, right? Wrong…In fact, when I told my mom and dad that I’d gotten saved they sighed and looked at each other frowning. My dad (who was very stern and had a problem with his temper –thats another post altogether) told me that I could never ever lie, could never sass him ever again, and gave me this long list of things I could never ever do again.
Is it any surprise then that I had a Wizard of Oz fear of God??
Fast Forward to my 20’s. I’m so glad the Lord taught me about His grace and mercy and how only unbelievers should expect to encounter God that way and then on the day of judgment.
He is a holy God Who deserves great reverence for sure, but He is Father to those who believe and receive Christ. To us He WANTS us to come to the throne boldly. He wants to teach of us His love. He is our Abba (daddy) 💓
Charles Stanley tells us, “If God is love, then why does He command us to fear Him? The fear of the Lord isn’t about being afraid of God; it’s about revering Him above all else. When we do that, we position ourselves to receive all the benefits that come with putting God first in our lives”
“What does it mean to fear the Lord? Should we be terrified of Him, or does it mean something else?
If we are lost and living in sin, we have a good reason to be afraid of God because we are not right with Him and are destined for judgment and condemnation. But if we are His redeemed people, there is no reason to be terrified of Him. However, we have every reason to show Him reverence and honor Him.”