Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.
He will bless those who fear the Lord, both small and great.Psalm 115:11, 13 (NKJV)
I admit being confused by the word fear in the Bible. All over the Bible, we who read it are constantly commanded to fear God. Here is where I get confused: if I love God, I am to fear Him. I am also told that God is Love. So, fear God who is Love. Is it just me, or is that confusing?!
In 1 John 4:18 I am told, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Doesn’t this verse make the fear God command even more confusing?
There are two definitions of fear in the dictionary. The first definition is a noun, a thing: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. The second definition is a verb, an action: be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.
I am NOT an expert on this, but I think we are to understand fear God via the noun definition, not necessarily the verb meaning.
God is LOVE. That’s who He is. BUT, He is also someone who can be dangerous, who can cause pain, and can threaten His enemies. All you have to do is read the Bible and you will find 100 examples of God’s extreme power and might against those who go against Him. God can be very scary for sure. But that’s not who He is. He is NOT fear. He is Love. God wants one thing — He wants His kids to forge a relationship with Him and obey His commands. The commands are not meant to enslave us, but to protect us. Because God is Love, He wants to protect us above all else.
When we obey God, when we forge a relationship with Him, He naturally wants to HELP us and PROTECT us. He becomes our shield. The cool thing about this word shield in verse 11 is that in Hebrew it doesn’t mean some measly Roman centurion shield. NO, not with God. With God, His shield (magen/from ganan or meginnah) means a protective force like the scaly protective skin of a gator. So, if I stand with God, He protects my fleshy heart while at my back is His protective, spiky shield. When we enter a relationship with God, when we love Him and obey His commands, God becomes our supreme Soldier. He puts His protection around us. Nothing can get at our souls. We are His!
Fearing God isn’t about being afraid of Him, it’s about truly understanding and being in awe of His massive power and might. Of realizing that compared to Him, we humans truly are nothing more than weak beings, here today, gone tomorrow. Once we come to terms with this, then can we truly grasp how amazing it is that God loves us and wants a relationship with us.
When we fear God, truly fear Him, He is able to bless us. And it doesn’t matter who we are — rich, poor, tall, short, young, old, skinny, fat — IF we fear Him, God will bless us.
Want to feel fear and awe towards God? Consider this: the Creator of everything, who has power over all, who could take you out with ONE word, wants to LOVE and RELATE to you. Tiny, insignificant, regular you. He sees you. He knows you. He likes you. And He wants to give you all of His heart. He gave you His Son. He gave you LIFE after death. He gave you eternity. And all you have to do is recognize His amazingness, fear His abilities, and accept Him for exactly who He is. It seems so simple, really. Why do we humans make it so difficult?
Let’s wrap this up.
1 John 4:18 is correct — there is no fear in love. Fear in this verse is referring to the verb meaning of fear, not the noun definition. If we fear God, there can be no fear. Seems like a contradiction, but essentially it goes like this: If we stand in awe and respect of God’s abilities and awesome powers, then there can be no fear. Why? Because He will bless us both small and great with His forcefield. He will be our help and come to our rescue. So, truly, if God is for us, who can possibly stand against us (Romans 8:31)?