References: Matthew 10:16-39, esp. vv. 29-31; Isaiah 49:13-23
From last week’s post: If the Father’s will is totally involved in a sparrow falling to the ground, how much more is His will involved in protecting you… to the point of every hair on your head.
Mankind’s protected existence
We need to remember that whether we are talking about an insignificant sparrow or a child of God, we are talking about God’s creation, carried in His hands. Resisting this truth means believing the lie first spoken in the garden, when man was told he could be his own god. The lie (and subsequent rebellion) was an attempt to see God as less than God.
Earlier we looked at the phrase, “that I am not my own.” Psalm 139:13-16 gives a beautiful description of God in your life, the God who put you together in every detail, who knew the details of your life before you existed. It’s the same God who is involved in every hair that falls from your head.
Recognizing that depth of God’s knowledge and control is the first step for us to understand the concept of the fear of God. It means understanding who God is and what His creation is. To look up at the stars in awe and say, “Wow.”
Another layer of the fear of God is knowing God’s reaction to sin as well as Adam did. Adam had a healthy fear of God. Similarly, when Isaiah found himself before the throne of God, out of his fear of God, he cried, “Woe is me, I am undone.”
A healthy fear of God is an essential component of salvation: it leads you to desire to be covered by the blood of Christ and live faithfully as a child of God. This reverential fear includes understanding His creation and exercising a proper caution toward it, knowing that this creation has received the curse.
An unhealthy fear
Seeing God as less than God was only the first part of Satan’s lie. The second part asserts you can replace God with yourself. Satan is a pretender; he does not control this creation. He has serious power, but there is only one Creator, the all-sovereign God.
Without a healthy fear of God, and the subsequent understanding of creation affected by sin, you may end up with a second fear of an unhealthy kind. Such a fear causes you to strike back in rebellion, or to run and hide, or to cower in the corner. Burdened thus, life remains a scary proposition. Such fear is what Satan desires. It is what He sought to make Christ yield to; it is destructive.
Remember the context of our discussion of fear: God calls his children to life faithfully, wherever and in whatever situation God has called you. Central to that life is worship; closely following comes faithful service in any given capacity. But looking at life and its troubles alone, without a close relationship with God, leads to fear that will ultimately incapacitate you.
Christ told His disciples they will be sheep among wolves. He did not follow that warning with a command to “go run and hide.” Yes, we are to be aware and not foolishly put ourselves in the path of wolves, but “Know, when you serve me, you are under the protection of the Father.”
Let me give an example. When I see a tornado coming toward me, I do not stand still and say, “Well, God promised to protect me, even every hair, so bring it on, tornado.” On the other hand, just because the possibility of tornados exists, I do not hide, incapacitated, in my basement 24/7. I go about my life and the tasks God has called me to. Not only will such fear make you useless to Christ in His Kingdom, it will lead to misery.
There is either fear for God, a healthy fear, or there is fear which is destructive.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.