December 16, 2010

Is God really that scary?

"It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread."
Isaiah 8:13

I take that passage into account literally. Maybe too literally. I think lately I've been more scared of God than actually having a healthy fear of Him.

The passage that verse is from is a passage speaking to the people that were following the ways of man and rebelling against God. "It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy."
Think about that for a moment. Regarding the Lord as holy means what? Do you truly know what it means, or do you just read the word and move on with life?

"1. of, relating to, or associated with God or a deity; sacred" (

That, my friends, is a dictionary definition of holy.
We need to regard the Lord as holy because He is holy. There's no doubt about it. He's sacred. He's righteous. He's pure. He's loving. He's generous. He cares. He is all-knowledgable. He is omnipotent. He is everything. He is God's Son. He was a sacrifice.
Now listen to the specifics (or read).

We know there is Someone to be regarded as holy.
We know the Lord is that Someone who needs to be regarded as holy.
Who needs to regard the Lord as holy?

You need to regard the Lord as holy.

Now the next lines make you wonder.

"And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread."

The Lord should be my fear and my dread?
This part is kind of confusing. I should dread God?
And if I have a fear for God, then I should be scared of God? (The Lord is God, as the Son. I believe that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are triune. So when I say God and the Lord, know that they are the same.)

A problem I'm still half working on is the fact that I've been scared of God, hence this blog post. If there's one thing that I used to do is have a genuine fear of and for God. Which isn't at all bad, but I have always been scared that God is mad at me for things I didn't even know I did wrong and then getting punished by Him.
"I'm so sorry if I did something, and here I am being punished." That was basically along the lines of how I thought and sometimes don't catch myself thinking. If something doesn't go my way, I think it's me being punished. Honestly, it's only because I'm not in control.
The whole point is that I've been scared of God when He continues to bless me with life. I'm scared that things are punishments when I don't know how to trust.

So why shouldn't I be scared of the Lord. Where does dread come in?
Remember that I gave you a verse that was in the middle of a passage. If you read a bit before Isaiah 8:13, you'll realize that the passage was in a direction of rebuking and punishing people for not walking in God's ways.
That makes us realize that God is powerful enough to punish. Exactly the way my thinking was for a while. "I'm being punished by God, this is just great. *MOE smacks herself*"
A problem with today's society is that people either don't regard the Lord as holy or they're too afraid of God.

There's one attribute we're missing though.
God is not only just, but He is merciful and loving.

"10 He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His love for those who fear Him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for He knows how we are formed,
He remembers that we are dust." Psalm 103:10-14

I don't know about you, but those are very encouraging words. If I was punished for every sin in a major way like I deserve, I'd be dead. I probably would end my life since it'd be so miserable.

Scared and fearful are two very different words.
If you don't walk with God, you better be scared. However, fearing God is one way you walk with God. Fearing is knowing that God is strong and almighty, enough to conquer anything in this world, but knowing that He's caring and loving as well.

"Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
who walk in obedience to him."
Psalm 128:1

"God blesses us, that all the ends of the earth shall fear Him."
Psalm 67:7

"In that day, man will have regard for his Maker and his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel."
Isaiah 17:7

"O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness."
Isaiah 25:1

"Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him."
Isaiah 30:18.

"1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood."
Hebrews 12:1-4

Walking with God means we're blessed and receive God's grace. I'm encouraged by the fact that I don't need to be scared of the one true God, but fearful of His gracious, just, and loving attributes.

God bless,

1 comment:

Ian said...

I had a thought strike me a while ago about this very thing. I think fear in this sense is very closely related to obedience. For instance, if we truly fear God, then we will obey Him over all other people and things that try to influence us; we fear God more than we fear any earthly authority who would try to get us to act against Him. Therefore, we obey God rather than men. We strive to avoid being set in opposition with Him.

So we shouldn't be scared of God in the sense that we try to avoid Him, but as we are faced with choices to follow God or follow something else, our healthy fear of the Lord should show through our actions.

I still don't have the words to specifically define "fear" in this case, but having such a premise gives a much stronger sense of exactly what it means, and therefore makes it more effective and meaningful. :)