FEAR AND AWE
The prophets warn us that when we see God shaking the nations, and perilous times befall us, our natural man will fear greatly. Ezekiel asked, “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee?” (Ezekiel 22:14).
When God warned Noah of his coming judgments and told him to build an ark, Noah was “moved with fear” (Hebrews 11:7). Even bold, courageous David said, “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments” (Psalm 119:120). And when the prophet Habakkuk saw disastrous days ahead, he cried out, “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble…” (Habakkuk 3:16).
Please note as you read theses passages: The fear that came upon these godly men wasn’t a fleshly fear, but a reverential awe of the Lord. These saints weren’t afraid of the enemy of their souls but they did fear God’s righteous judgments. And that’s because they understood the awesome power behind the approaching calamities. They didn’t fear the outcome of the storm, but rather God’s holiness!
Likewise, each of us will experience overwhelming fear in the coming times of destruction and disaster. But our fear must come from a holy reverence for the Lord, and never from a fleshly anxiety about our fate. God despises all sinful fear in us, the fear of losing material things, wealth, our standard of living.
All over the world, people are filled with this kind of fear, as they see their nations’ economies deteriorating. They’re afraid an economic flood will sweep away everything they’ve labored for throughout their lifetime. Such is the cry of unbelievers who have no hope. It ought not to be the cry of the godly. Indeed, if you’re a child of God, your heavenly father will not endure such unbelief in you. Isaiah warned: “Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker…and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor…” (Isaiah 51:12-13). “Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread [awe]” (8:13).
Let God be your fear and awe. That kind of fear leads not to death, but to life!