References: Matthew 10:16-39, esp. vv. 29-31; Isaiah 49:13-23
The God we fear
We’re still working to understand the word fear. It is a complex concept, but properly understood and lived, the fear of God is biblical, healthy, and wondrously comforting. As an example of this type of fear, look at Adam’s fear when he sinned. Or look at Isaiah’s fear when he found himself before the throne of God. Or consider the children of Israel: they could only come before God’s presence in the tabernacle’s holy of holies through the intercession of a high priest, covered by the blood of a lamb, who sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat.
Now we stand in the very presence of God, in the very holy of holies when we gather in public worship, covered by the blood of Christ, fearing God as grateful recipients of His provision that covers our sin.
The God who directs all things
One of the most powerful passages in Scripture that sets forth God’s involvement and protection in every part of our lives is found in Rom. 8:35-37 (ESV):
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
The trials and griefs mentioned are real and present problems that don’t dissolve overnight. But they cannot separate you from the love of God. They do not incapacitate you; through them you are conquers. Whatever God brings in your life, He brings so that you can be a conqueror.
To be clear, the pandemic and lawlessness on the streets are not surprises to God. God fully directs it. He uses plagues in many different ways. God directs all things, not only to prevent any hair from falling, but also the means by which hairs do fall. We may not only acknowledge God’s involvement when things go well. He is equally involved when they don’t.
The God who knows you
But remember His purpose in trials. Think again of the words in Ps. 139. God knows you. He knows every detail about you, and more than that, God knows the way of the righteous; His knowledge and His love are upon you (see Ps. 1). God knows exactly what is right for you, even when, humanly speaking, we struggle through problems of great sorrow. His protection, His purpose, His love for you are absolutely perfect. Nothing will destroy that.
The healthy fear of God, as we face life and its scary aspects, stems from resting assured that the God we fear is the God who knows us.
As I said earlier, when we see a tornado, we know what to do. Currently, we face uncertainties in which the right thing to do is not easy to discern, and it can be hard to resist the wrong kind of fear. Different situations call for different responses. Part of a healthy fear of God involves making good decisions to the best of our ability.
As children of God, we are called to live faithfully, which includes corporate worship, as you are able. Be confident that as you live in faith, you live under the Father’s loving care, and without His will not one hair can fall from your head.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.