Fear of God is a prominent theme throughout the Old Testament. God makes it clear that fear is an appropriate response to his presence.
After 37 chapters of standing by silently watching Job and his friends try to make sense of the tragedy that has befallen Job, God finally speaks…
Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone? Job 38:1-6
This had to be a terrifying experience for Job. This is not unlike the fear the Israelites faced with the prospect of hearing from God when Moses descended from Mount Sinai:
When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Exodus 20:18-19
The God of the Old Testament is awe-inspiring. His holiness, power, and wisdom demand complete reverence and fear. The God of the New Testament, and today, isn’t any different. He’s still holy, omnipotent, and omniscient. The difference is that we have an intercessor who represents us to Him so that we do not need to face him alone.
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:40-43
Jesus bore our sins at the cross to forever change our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We no longer need to be terrified at the thought of facing him: the curtain of the temple was torn in two. (Luke 23:45b)
You are holy and powerful, and your works inspire awe in me. Thank you eternally for the gift of Jesus who gave his life that I may be able to enter your presence holy, blameless, and without fear. Amen.