READ: Exodus 19-21, Psalm 24, Matthew 24, Acts 24
We Fear so We Don’t Fear
The paradoxes of God are His graces, for they enable our limited understandings to wrestle with His immeasurable transcendence. God’s ways are so far above our ways, theory is not sufficient for comprehension – we must experience the paradoxes of God in order to apprehend them.
Deliverance is a person not a place. In Exodus 19:4 God reminds Moses, “I bore you on eagles wings and brought you to MYSELF.” While it is true that Egypt was left behind, the desert was not that much more accommodating. Moses and company learned experientially that God was their refuge – not the leaving of one place or the gaining of another. Thousands of Christians through history have experienced this same truth. They were not relieved of poverty, they were not healed, they were not released from prison, the were not rescued from the lion’s mouth – but they found refuge. They experienced God bringing them to HIMSELF whether their external conditions changed or not. God is not particular about place (Matt. 24:2).
Revelation comes through trial as well as triumph. God told Moses that He would come to him in “the thick cloud” (Exo. 19:9). Isaiah spoke of “The Valley of Vision,” the restricted view areas which help one see. We learn more about ourselves and our Creator when we are under duress than we do in comfort. Prosperity tends to make us wander, persecution often drives us to the arms of Jesus.
God is approached boldly and cautiously. “Do not fear,” Moses told his people, “God has come to test you…that His fear may be before you” (Exo. 20:20). On one hand only “he who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Ps. 24:4) can ascend to the hill of the Lord. On the other hand, “the vilest offender who truly believes – that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.” God the Father is approachable, He welcomes with open arms those who come penitent. Those who approach “the mountain of God” (Exo. 19:12) cavalierly, however, will be put to death.
When we fear the Lord (reverence, honor, laud Him), when we humble ourselves, we fear Him appropriately. This fear protects us from His holy wrath and we can boldly (fearlessly) approach the throne of Grace to find help in our time of need. We fear the Lord, so we don’t have to fear Him.