For many years of my life I struggled with the concept of “fear of the Lord”. Throughout the bible, especially in the old testament, people were called time and time again to not be afraid. Yet, in the same breath, the fear of the Lord was encouraged. How can you have fear but not be afraid.
Then, my dad became sick and was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I finally understood. I wasn’t afraid of my dad because he could punish me. I didn’t have fear of him doing something negative to me, not loving me, not providing for me or not showing me kindness and love. What I saw that I feared was doing something with the rest of my life that would reflect negatively on this man that I loved and honored. I feared not only letting him down with my actions, but even more so, doing something that negatively impacted the memory of him. It wasn’t a shrink away fear, but a fear that encouraged me to be better, to do better, to grow and to honor him.
I think that is the meaning inside the two fears that Moses discusses with the Israelites. We, like them, are chosen by God. We are loved and need not fear God even though He is big and powerful and mighty. But, out of love and honor and respect, we should live with the understanding and fear that our lives and our actions directly reflect on our Heavenly Father. Every interaction we have as Christians is a portal for others to either grow closer to or farther away from God.
While our actions and thoughts and behaviors matter, God also provided for an equality among people. In His instructions about the construction of the altar He set the stage against something that has been the downfall of many churches. We and our churches have attempted to bring in art and beauty and architecture under the premise of showing honor to God. This encourages a reliance and pandering to those with wealth to provide the funds for those items. But God says that any tool we lay to His creation does not add to it, but subtracts from it. He says our desire to put God and the altar to Him up on a pedestal does nothing to bring honor to Him, it just puts our private parts on display.
God is to be honored. God is to be worshiped, but God doesn’t desire or even condone a towering edifice built by human hands “for His glory.” He is perfectly content in the glory that His creation, (the planet, the solar system, the universe) paints. God is not looking for us to honor Him by throwing money or art or architecture at Him. What God wants and what we can do to bring glory to Him is to be present with Him. By seeking to be in a relationship with God, we honor Him. Whenever He causes His name to be honored, He comes to us and blesses us. This is the heart of worship and it is the heart of our relationship with God. Show up! Commit yourself, not your money. Build your relationship, not buildings. Invest in time with Him, not time in other things so you have funds to contribute to things for Him.
I wish I could spend more time with my father. But, while he is no longer on this earth, I can still honor him by investing time with the Heavenly Father that we both love and worship in ways that honor him and honor God. Each moment I spend in prayer, each minute I spend studying His word, each conversation or class I lead that glorifies God the Father honors me and my father as well. The loving relationship that father built in me lives on because it was built not on him or his strength or his life, but because it was built on God. That love lives forever!
afraid: God is big and powerful but as his children we need not shrink from Him in fear of harm, Fear of God: God’s expectations of His children are high, nothing short of holiness, and we should fear falling short of those expectations
first paralyzes and keeps someone away from God, second protects and buffers us from a nature or inclination to sin
Fear of God – as my Father I fear every day that the way I am seen by others does not bring Him the honor and respect He deserves
Wherever God causes His name to be honored, He will come and bless those who worship Him – connection with God
any gods alongside god, do not build altar with dressed stones, do not defile it with tools, do not go up stairs (flash people)
Our worship of God is to be for the worship of God, not about showing off what we can do or how we look. It is also not something to be done carelessly or in a way that might be a distraction to others
so that is is not defiled by the use of a tool on it. Do we attempt to improve on what God created in order to worship God.? Why would we think what God created is insufficient for His glory?
Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. – this is the heart of worship: Communion with God