Consider the following verses:
“But the fearful…shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”(Revelation 21:8)
“Happy is the man that feareth always…”(Proverbs 28:14)
One part, we are told that the person who fears always will be happy. In another, we are told expressly that the fearful are going directly to hell.
Should we or should we not fear? Why is the Bible seemingly confusing us?
It could only mean one thing: there are TYPES of fear.
“The fear of man brings a snare…”(Proverbs 29:25)
“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”Isaiah 8:12-13
The fear we are commanded to have for is toward God and it is not that ensnaring kind which the fear of people or situations bring.
It is awe and reverence. Admiration and respect. Because we can’t see God doesn’t make Him less of who He is. It takes complete faith to see a God that eyes cannot see and greater humility to fear what we cannot touch with our hands.
He Himself has to open our eyes to know and fear Him. This fear for God cannot be taught. It can only be imbibed through personal experience with this same God.
Isaiah had been so confidently decrying sin and woeing everybody in his society. He was a voice for God until he saw God and declared about himself,
“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips…for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”(Isaiah 6:5)
It is only when we see God that we see ourselves for what we really are outside the misleading of external beauty, attractiveness, popularity or status and the feeling that this produces is that of self-loathing and almost hopelessness but then we see an absolutely pure and spotless God on the Cross who is so great yet is ever willing to cleanse and live in us. What glorious condescension!
“No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.“1 John 3:6
When we know that this holy God dwells within us, we fear offending Him, we fear sin, we hate sin, we fear defiling the temple of our bodies He dwells in yet we hate the ever evil tendencies of our flesh. We are ever so conscious of wasting the expensive Blood through which He has redeemed us. This fear brings peace and happiness to our hearts as opposed to terror and discomfort.
This is where that double sided fear of personal admiration and respect for such a God comes in. He who is so loving yet is so able and has the sole authority to destroy forever.
Quoting Spurgeon, “Solomon had tried both worldliness and holy fear: in the one he found vanity, in the other happiness. Let us not repeat his trial but abide by his verdict.”
Choose this day whom you will fear.