READ: Genesis 13-15, Psalm 5, Matthew 5, Acts 5
Righteousness and Fear
Friendship with God is not to be considered in the light of other friendships. While it is true Abram was the friend of God, we should not glibly sing “I am a friend of God” without due consideration of Genesis 15:12. When God met with Abram, it was an experience of “horror and great darkness.” What makes our relationship with God sublime is the juxtaposition of fear (reverence) and intimacy.
We cannot approach God cavalierly. He is the Father God to whom we can run and cling. He is also the possessor of Heaven and Earth. How does this strange combination play out in our daily walk with the God who can be approached, the God who terrifies us?
For Abram the progression was thus: God spoke, Abram believed and obeyed. God was so pleased that Abram believed, He counted that belief as righteousness. In other words, when we believe God is who He says He is, when we believe God will do what He has promised to do, God is so pleased with us that He considers us in right-standing (righteousness) friendship with Him. When we are in friendship with God, He rewards us by shielding us. God rewards His friends with Himself – a deep fullness and satisfaction that only He can bring.
Blessed are they that long (hunger and thirst) for this righteousness, this right standing with God – for they shall be full, full of Him! The reward of righteousness is not an external trophy but a deep inward fulfillment and satisfaction. All other pleasures and achievements do not penetrate the depth of the soul like righteousness does, for righteousness makes us friends with God.
When we don’t fear the Lord, when we presume on friendship, when we lie to and test the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-9), when we don’t believe God is to be feared, respected, and held in awe – then we will experience the unshielded horror of God’s Majesty. It will scare us to death. Much better to be God’s friend than His enemy.