The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.– Psalm 111:10 (NIV)
Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
But in the quote above, the word Fear is also used in reference to God. Are we supposed to fear, or be afraid of God?
Isn’t it that we revere the Almighty Power of God, because His power is absolute–the ultimate answer to all questions?
Isn’t it that we should be fearful for ourselves if we follow man alone, negating God?
What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.–Matthew, 10:27-28
As human beings, when we are afraid, we either run from our fears–or face them with courage. In fact, fear can author courage in most of us. When we are most afraid, courage is offered to us by a loving God. But also a God who has given us free will either to run away, or to stand our ground. And if we choose not to stand our ground, if we don’t follow the precepts of God, but follow the precepts of Man, then we must be afraid.
Even then, fear is our opportunity for courage.
Courage is intangible within us. We cannot touch it. We can only see the result of it–just as we are unable to see the wind, yet its active result is apparent, in swaying trees, or even violent bursts of air that turn things upside down during a storm. It is the same with God. We are unable see to God except through His action of grace in our lives.
Courage– prompted by the fear of losing our religious freedom to practice what we believe in– is needed for those who revere God and His commandments. Never make the mistake of assuming that our religious freedom won’t be taken away by some of our less fearful, fellow men. We must stand our ground. We are called to courage today.