Fear the Lord, my child, as well as the king,
and do not associate with rebels,
for suddenly their destruction will overtake them,
and who knows the ruinous judgment both the Lord and the king can bring?
It’s as if this is an important theme. Because once again we come across the phrase, “Fear the Lord.” I’ve talked about this several times over the course of this past year, but again, it comes up.
Fear means reverence. Fear means respect. But, fear also means fear. I don’t know why we have such a hard time with this in our culture. I don’t really know if the culture in which this book was written had a hard time with it, but for some reason we do. It’s as if God can’t be a good God if we also have to be afraid of him.
Really? Is that true in other areas of life? How about a pro-football player. They can be a good person, but tell me you wouldn’t be afraid of a 6 foot 13, 900 pound NFL lineman named Javarius if you crossed his path during the week! Or how about the IRS. We all understand that the government needs money to run (whatever your position on how much they need is not the issue), and the IRS is the institution that collects that money. But, we’re all afraid of the IRS. Okay, maybe that one didn’t help because now you’re just thinking about debt ceilings and government shutdowns.
How about this one, we like trains, planes and automobiles. They’re all good things. They get us from here to there. They get stuff we like to buy from there to here. They’re cool to watch. They’re fun to ride. They’re good things. But aren’t you also afraid of them all? Aren’t you afraid of the plane crashing? Aren’t you afraid of standing in front of a train barreling down the tracks? Aren’t you afraid of getting into a crash with another car? Aren’t you afraid of a 4,000 vehicle coming into your lane?
It is possible for good and fear to exist at the same time. It is possible for us to fear things that are good. Why shouldn’t we also be able to fear a good God? I mean, come on, if we’re afraid of Javirius, the IRS, planes, trains and automobiles, shouldn’t be be afraid of a God who is so big he could blink hard and wipe all those things out?
He’s a big God. We should fear him. But He’s also good.