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A Time for Trembling
Theme of the Week: Healthy Fear
Monday, February 16, 2009

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Key Bible Verse: Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Bonus Reading: Exodus 20:18-21

Fear of the Lord, it seems to me, is like fear of firearms. Whenever the phrase "fear of the Lord" occurs in Scripture, Christians rush to hedge and qualify it: "It really means to reverence God, not to be afraid of him." We easily dismiss the idea of truly fearing him because we don't see ourselves as objects of his wrath. Yet God's wrath is revealed against all unrighteousness, not just the unrighteousness of everybody else.

I suspect that the word "fear" captures precisely the attitude men should have when they approach the Holy One of Israel. The Old Testament priests approached God with literal fear. It wasn't the kind of fear that a lone pedestrian feels when he walks down a dark alley; it was much worse! That's because the approach to the Almighty is brilliantly lit and nothing is hidden from him. All the imperfections, base desires, and petty indulgences that we rationalize are open to God's view; and he is a righteous judge. Only the innocent need not fear him, and none are without sin.

Reverence is part of a right relationship with God. But the fear that is the beginning of wisdom is a healthy fear that trembles at the power and unfathomable perfection of the Creator.

—J. Mark Bertrand in Rethinking Worldview

My Response: What so-called secret sins in my life should cause me to fear God?

Adapted from Rethinking Worldview (Crossway, 2007) by permission.

Prayer for the Week
God, I confess that I've minimized your breathtaking holy otherness in my mind. Restore the fear that puts my sin and your salvation into focus.

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