“The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked.” This is an excerpt from a sermon preached in 1741 by Jonathon Edwards titled Sinners In The Hand Of An Angry God. This sermon and others sparked the “Great Awakening” in North America. The sermon painted a vivid picture of Hell and God’s wrath towards sinners. There was a time and place where this type of sermon was delivered across America’s pulpits. However, the grace and love of God dominates today.
We should not be one sided when it comes to the nature of God. He is more than one characteristic. The “whole counsel of God” includes love, grace, wrath, and fear. The Teacher of Ecclesiastes continued his thoughts with people going through life fearlessly. They were fearless when it came to governing authority. They were fearless in their actions by doing evil “a hundred times” and living a life of wickedness (8:12-13). The Teacher in wisdom expressed the need for us to fear God. “I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him.” (8:12). The Hebrew word for “fear” in this verse doesn’t mean “respect and reverence”. It is a word that means “to be afraid, to fear”. God intended the children of Israel to fear Him when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments. He even created a frightful environment to produce the fear. (Exodus 20:18-20)
My relationship with my parents had love and fear. My mother would say, “What till your father gets home!” She wanted me to be afraid, and I was! As I got older, my relationship with them grew from living in fear to love for them. God loves us, and He doesn’t want a single person to perish. If you don’t have a level of fear that moves you to a greater love, the world and its temptations could be too much. Let us find a healthy fear under the Son.
In Him, Josh Barnett