What are you afraid of? Anything? Lots of things? Everything? Nothing?
Many of us are afraid of flying, but I remember Spike Milligan once saying that he wasn’t in the least frightened of flying. Not in the least! But crashing – that was totally different! He was terrified of that!
I sometimes think of airline pilots and how calm they are. The incident in the Quantas plane a few days ago – the pilot was as calm as you get as he spoke to the passengers to say that they had had an incident with one of the engines, and that they were just going to circle for a bit to dump the fuel before landing. His calm voice and way of speaking probably calmed everyone on the plane. Nothing to worry about. mmm….. When you say that, I am not in the least bit panicky that this engine malfunction actually was an EXPLOSION WHICH BLEW A BIG CHUNK OF METAL THROUGH THE WING!!!!!!!!!!! AAARRGH!!!
Relax. Calm. Peace.
Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead. (Eccl 5:7, NLT)
I am noticing the words fear God more and more in my reading and I keep asking myself why. Why fear the God who is love? Why fear the God who has forgiven me? But then I start asking myself why it is that I am noticing the words fear God so often. There has to be a reason.
To use the title of an Alistair MacLean book, Fear is the Key. As far as I can see, though, it has swung the other way now. Lack of fear is the problem! I have done and said many things which I know to be wrong. Yes, I have taken them to God and asked forgiveness, but when I was doing them, was I afraid? When I was saying them, did I fear God? I have seen things done in churches, by churches, which are wrong. Where was the fear of God? If we truly feared God, the one who can melt mountains like wax, would we do half the things we do?
None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all get it wrong. We all sin. I hope that we all then seek forgiveness. But what effect should realising that we messed up and being forgiven have on our future and on our future behaviour?
But you offer forgiveness,that we might learn to fear you. (Ps 130:4, NLT)
We are forgiven so that we will learn that we should fear God.
Be afraid. Be very afraid!