Holy Fear

In Exodus 14 we see the Israelites camped in front of the Red Sea.  In spite of the devastating plagues, Pharoah decides to pursue the Israelites.  Heaven forbid they lose their slave labor and have to work hard themselves!  So he takes 600 of the best chariots along with his army and pursue the Israelites (who likely had no weapons with which to defend themselves).

“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?  Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Exodus 14:10-12

In their defense it would have been terrifying.  Can you imagine?  Two million freshly freed people, unarmed and exhausted, now in a literal death trap.  They thought they were free but here comes the people that have oppressed them all their lives.  No wonder they freaked out and started complaining!  It would have been hopeless….but the God of the universe was involved!

The people didn’t realize how powerful God is.  Impossible is kind of his forte.  Not only that but God had led them into this ‘death trap’ so he could display his power and glory.

We all know how the story goes.  Interestingly; Moses is crying out to God in prayer and God says “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on!” Exodus 14:15  Basically- get your butt in gear.  I got this.

The Sea parts and all night they walk through on dry land.  God himself- in the form of a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire- separates his people from the pursuing army.  As dawn stretches across the sky the people reach the other side.  The Egyptians, slowed down by God, are still in the middle of the Sea when the water comes crashing down.  The people witness God crushingly defeat their enemy while they stand still.

Lesson- God is so much bigger and awesome than we realize.  So willing to help in our times of need.  If we are aligned with God we will always be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) no matter how bleak things might look from our point of view.

The end result of this was an outpouring of praise.  The people feared God and put their trust in Him.

The fear of the Lord isn’t widely preached today.  People try to paint God as ‘the man upstairs’ and Jesus as ‘my hippy-looking buddy’.  Or that God is all about love and grace so living in sin doesn’t matter.  Reality couldn’t be further from our cultures ‘truth’.  God is still holy.  Our sin is still an affront to His holiness.  Rev. 21:8  Our God is a consuming fire.  It is a terrifying thing to find yourself as His enemy. Hebrews 12:29  I love the way C.S. Lewis put it in the Narnia series.  He isn’t tame, no, but he is good.  Our God doesn’t fit into a box.  He can’t be tamed, controlled, or manipulated.  He is awesome in splendor and majestic in holiness.  He deserves our utmost respect, and yes; even reverential fear.

It’s been said that if we fear God we don’t need to fear anything else.  It’s true.  Jesus said as much, ““But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” Luke 12:5  Can you imagine the book?  Fear God- who just might kill you and throw you into Hell!  Probably not going to top the best seller list.  Not nearly as catchy as ‘Your Best Life Now!’ or ‘Everyday a Friday!’  images4X4XHWGK

“The lion has roared– who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken– who can but prophesy?” Amos 3:8

Our God is a roaring Lion.  He is a warrior.  He deserves all our respect.  He fights for us.  Let’s give Him his due in our hearts, lives and homes.  Amen.

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