Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Stand in Awe of God and Fear Nothing

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10)
To fear the LORD is, in a word, to stand in awe of Him. We used to say “Awful” (read “awe-full”). Now we exclaim, “Awesome!”

When God and God alone is awesome in our eyes, we will not fear anything else. We find a classic example of this in Numbers 13, when Moses sent out a team of twelve to spy out the land of promise.

Ten came back and said that, yes, indeed it was a land of milk and honey and an abundance of fruit. But, you see, the people there were very strong: “There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:33).

They made the mistake of supposing that, because they saw themselves as grasshoppers in their own sight, the “giants” of the land must have seen them that way, too. But their view of God was small, and caused them to look only to themselves and, coming up short, they lost heart. They did not fear the LORD, so they ended up fearing everything else.

On the other hand, there were two spies, Joshua and Caleb, who stood in continual awe of the LORD. Listen to their report:
“Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)

“The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.” (Numbers 14:7-9)
They did not consider the “giants.” They did not even consider themselves. They considered the LORD alone. Their only consideration was, “The LORD is with us;” their conclusion was, “Do not fear them.”

The virgin Mary stood in awe of the Lord. When the angel announced the favor of God on her, and that she would give birth to the Son of God, she learned that there was not only nothing to fear, but that nothing would be impossible:
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this in now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible. (Luke 1:34-37).
Mary visited Elizabeth, who announced Mary’s pregnancy: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42). The Mary sang a wonderful song of praise which begins, “My soul magnifies the LORD.” She stood in awe of Him.

When you stand in awe of God, you will never have to fear anything else. There is nothing to fear, for nothing will be impossible.

(See also When It’s All About God)