Each individual has things he or she is afraid of for one reason or another. Here is a partial list of the things that can potentially make us afraid: poor health, poverty, wars, death, accidents, break-ins, disgraces, and the list goes on. What do we do to manage our fears? We install security alarm and life alert systems; we make frequent visits to the doctors and hospitals for checkups, and sometimes take boatloads of medications. Many people work double jobs while others work overtime to ensure they have enough money to take care of their financial responsibilities.
All these fears can be quite overwhelming, but thank God they can all be absorbed by one particular fear; the fear that is guaranteed to calm all other fears and put us at ease. That fear is the fear of God.
I am reminded of Moses before the Pharaoh of Egypt and his magicians. God demonstrated His power through Moses before the Pharaoh so he would let the Israelites go. One of the acts Moses performed was throwing down his staff, and the staff becoming a snake. Needless to say the magicians attempted to accomplish the same thing, and yes their staffs also became snakes, but guess what? Moses’ snake swallowed up their snakes. Those snakes met their match.
In the same way, the Bible tells us the fear of the Lord delivers us from all other fears. So the fears we experience can be safely swallowed up by our fear of God. The Hymnist puts it this way: “Fear Him ye saints and you will then have nothing else to fear, make you His service your delight, He’ll make your wants His care.” What are you afraid of?
· Do you feel insecure? – “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them” (Ps 34:7).
· Are you afraid of becoming needy? – “Those who fear Him lack nothing. Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Ps 34:9b, 10b).
· Are you afraid of premature death? “The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short” (Prov 10:27).
· Are you afraid of poor health and a whole lot more? – “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Ps 34:19).
What is the fear of the Lord? There are two kinds of fear and God deserves both.
The first kind of fear is the fear that expresses horror, terror, dread, fright, and anxiety; afraid of being punished, and being destroyed. The Bible says fear Him (God) who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell (Mt 10:28b)! The unbeliever should fear because of what the end result of his or her unbelief will be; “Be sure of this: the wicked will not go unpunished” (Prov 11:21a). On the other hand, the Christian, armed with the knowledge of this kind of fear, needs to fear for unbelievers and do all that he or she can to reach them for Christ. Paul persuasively says, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor 5:11 KJ).
The second kind is the fear that comes out of love, respect, admiration, and reverence, and leads to obedience and service. This is the kind of fear a Christian should have. Since Jesus already paid the penalty for our sins, we don’t have to fear God’s judgment. We never have to worry about being condemned to hell; Paul encourages us, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:1-2).
If we have reverential fear, the Lord will take care of all of our other fears. We can trust that because His word says so! Then we can agree with the hymnist, “Fear Him ye Saints, and you will then have nothing else to fear.” Let us also remember that “Fear not” is a command, and if we are obedient, we will turn our fears over to Him.