WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 12, 2022
TOPIC: DO YOU FEAR GOD OR YOU ARE AFRAID OF HIM?
BY T. O. BANSO
“‘Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning’” (Exodus 20:20 New International Version).
God is love (1 John 4:8). He is a loving God. But He is also a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). Therefore, those who have committed their lives to follow Him by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour must fear Him without being afraid of Him. Fearing God and being afraid of Him, in this context, mean different things.
To be afraid of God means to have a feeling of terror or fright that makes one run away or want to run away from God rather than draw near Him. In Exodus 20:18-21, the Israelites were afraid of God’s presence manifesting in the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain in smoke. “‘Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning’” (Exodus 20:20 New International Version). Take note of the two phrases “Do not be afraid” and “so that the fear of God will be with you.” God does not want His children to be afraid of Him but to fear Him.
Sometimes, people could be afraid of God because of the sin they have committed. After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam answered God, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10 New King James Version).
On the other hand, for a child of God to fear God means to have reverence for Him, to stand in awe of Him, and to respect or honour Him. God wants His children to fear Him, not to be afraid of Him. But the fear of God in non-believers is the fear of punishment/consequences for their sins on earth, final judgment, and eternal damnation. They are afraid of Him. This is not the case with believers.
Deuteronomy 6:13a says, “You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him” (New King James Version). God does not want us to be so terrified that we run away from Him. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (New King James Version).
Hebrews 10:22 also invites us to draw near to God, not to run away from Him because of terror. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (New King James Version).
To be afraid of God is negative while, for believers to fear Him, is positive. Those who are born again should fear God but should not be afraid of Him. The fear of God should be “filial fear”, not “servile fear”. Filial fear is for children based on their love of God. They run from sin because of their love of God. “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15). Servile fear is for slaves (sinners) based on their fear of God’s punishment. They only keep away from sin to avoid punishment.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (New King James Version). If you fear God, you will never need to be afraid of Him! Why? The fear of God will make you obey Him. But you will be afraid of God if you violate His Word because there will be consequences.
David had violated the Word of God on how to carry the ark of God. Tragically, Uzzah died in the process at Perez Uzzah, for holding the ark when the oxen stumbled while the ark was being transported to Jerusalem on a new cart. Consequently, “David was afraid of God that day, saying, ‘How can I bring the ark of God to me?’” (1 Chronicles 13:12 New King James Version).
The fear you should have for God is that which makes you worship Him with holy fear and awe. Hebrews 12:28-29 says, “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire” (New Living Translation). You must never become familiar with Him or His love. God is a consuming fire.
The two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, didn’t fear God though they were ministers of God. They offered strange, profane, or unauthorized fire to Him and fire went out from the LORD and burnt them up. They died before the LORD (Leviticus 10:1-2). You can’t please God if you don’t worship Him in holy reverence. “Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:8-9 New King James Version).
The judge mentioned in Luke 18, in one of the parables of Jesus, neither feared God nor regarded man (verses 2 & 4). Also, one of the thieves or criminals crucified with Jesus didn’t fear God hence he mocked Jesus (Luke 23:40). But God testified that Job feared Him and shunned evil (Job 1:8). The Egyptian midwives were God-fearing by sparing the Hebrew babies (Exodus 1:17, 21). Cornelius feared God with his entire household (Acts 10:2).
Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (King James Version). Sinners will definitely be afraid of God because of the punishment for their sins.
9 Benefits of fearing God
1. You’ll enjoy divine protection, security, and deliverance (Psalm 33:18; 34:7; Proverbs 19:23; 14:26).
2. You will have all you need (Psalm 34:9). Needs are different from wants.
3. You will get divine wisdom and knowledge (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 15:33).
4. It helps you to avoid evil (Proverbs 16:6).
5. It leads to riches, honour, and long life (Proverbs 22:4).
6. It lengthens your life and offers you an escape from the snares of death (Proverbs 10:27; 14:27).
7. It secures for you a wonderful future; your hope will not be disappointed (Proverbs 23:17-18).
8. You will enjoy the mercy of God (Luke 1:50).
9. It will be well with you (Ecclesiastes 8:12).
Let God alone be your fear. Isaiah 8:13 says, “Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble” (New Living Translation). Jesus said we should not fear those who could kill the body but could not kill the soul. He said we should instead fear God who could destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). Walk in the fear of the Lord (Acts 9:31).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: The fear of God shall rule my heart but I shall not be afraid of God in Jesus’ name. I shall come boldly to the throne of grace, that I may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Holy Spirit, help me to walk in the fear of the Lord. Father, I pray that all the earth will fear You and all the inhabitants of the world shall stand in awe of You in Jesus’ name.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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