My husband loves to stand at the back door when the tornado siren sounds in our neighborhood. While the kids and I are hunkered down in our tub with a toddler mattress over our heads, my husband is watching, hoping to catch a glimpse of the funnel.
I hate this. And I’m usually texting him (I’d yell, but it would scare the kids) to get his butt back in the bathroom before he gets hurt. But, as much as I hate it, I also totally get it. There is something in him that wants to watch an incredible force of nature, which is completely beyond his control, pass right by him.
While I don’t share his fascination with tornados, I have always dreamed of swimming next to a sperm whale, the largest mammal on earth, for the same reason he stands at our back door. I want to know just how small I really am. I want to experience that sense of awe down to my core.
The Fear Of God
I believe we all have this desire (to a degree), and I believe it stems from humanity’s collective desire to catch a glimpse of God’s glory. In Exodus 20, when the Lord descends on Mount Sinai to give Moses the Ten Commandments, His presence is manifested in thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and smoke (Ex 20:18). The people’s response was fear and trembling, but I imagine some felt a mix of terror and exhilaration.
Moses tells the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” (Ex 20:20)
God literally wanted to put the fear of Himself in the Israelites. He wanted them to see His power and have His voice reverberate through their bodies. He did this so they would know that He is the Lord and they are not. This is what it means to fear the Lord.
Truthfully I could use a healthy dose of that fear. I have plenty of the other kind of fear! The fear that gnaws at me, keeps me up at night, causes me to worry and strive. The fear that runs through me at the sound of tornado sirens.
I think this worldy fear has power over me because I don’t have enough Godly fear in me. All too often we squish God down, into a pocket-sized box until he’s just our buddy, our homeboy. But when we feel afraid, we need more than a friend. We need a King, a Conquorer. We need a powerful, awesome God!
[tweetshareinline tweet=”We can fight the fears of this world by cultivating a fear of God!” username=”p(rsbH3iMVf3mdg7f1&6g5!0Uz(iC@SK:1:0″] You do not have to stand before a tsunami to be reminded of His power. Like so many other aspects of our spiritual lives, the fear of God can and should be cultivated in our lives.
Three Ways To Cultivate the Fear of God in Your Life
Take a look at nature: Colossians 1:16b-17 reminds us “all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him, all things hold together.” While large and powerful storms often shout to us about God’s glory, every inch of creation can teach you about His wonder and power. [tweetshareinline tweet=”Even the most minuscule creature can testify to the infinite nature of our God” username=”p(rsbH3iMVf3mdg7f1&6g5!0Uz(iC@SK:1:0″]But it takes a little looking. Focus in on the intricacy of a single snowflake, notice the geometric patterns found in the flowers, pinecones, and our own bodies. Allow these things to remind you that we serve a God of order, who cares about the details of our lives and the world around us. Consider how, in Him, all things hold together. Here’s a video I really enjoy by John Piper about God’s glory found in creation
Take a look at His Word: I encourage you to read through the Psalms, where Davis writes passionately about the Glory of God. But don’t simply read these things. Meditate on them! Let the truths move from your head to your heart. Memorize them and pray them when you are feeling afraid or worried. The Word of God is our sword, and praying verses that tell us of God’s glory and power is a practical way to fight fear with fear (Eph 6:17)! Here is a list of 20 verses that tell us about the power of God.
Take a look at your heart: It’s important to take some time and do a little “heart check”. How have you made God too small? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any lies you have believed about God’s abilities and intentions. Then confess those lies to Him and replace those misconceptions with His Word- verses that speak the truth.
My Prayer for You
Whatever you are afraid of today- that diagnosis, that conversation, that situation- whatever it is, my prayer for you this morning is for the fear of Him to be ever before you, that you may know He is God and you are not. I pray that this beautiful and fearsome truth will silence any fears of this world that threaten to overwhelm you. For He is the mighty Lord our God and He is for you. And if He is for you, who can be against you (Rom 8:31)? Amen!