Malachi 3:5 “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulteress, and against the false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Isaiah 8:13 “Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”
After all the fear nots we have studied to come across this “fear not” is a bit unnerving. Here is a “fear” I am suppose to have. Jehovah, the Lord most high is to be my “fear and dread?” What?? I thought the Lord was good, kind, merciful, benevolent, compassionate, forgiving, a provider, healer, comforter, banner, guardian, guide, and so on and so forth. Now, I read this. Are you scratching your head? Are you confused? Are you thinking, “Who wants a god I need to fear?”
Let me see if I can put this in terms we can understand and truly grasp.
My Daddy was a wonderful dad. He was a good provider-we had all we needed and some of our “wants.” He was a hard worker. He loved my Mamma. He loved his children. He was a good teacher. He wanted the best for his children and his wife. He was strong. He had a beautiful smile and his hands could be gentle. He had a tender spot in his heart for children who lived in the Children’s Home (orphanage) across the street from our home. He loved Jesus and Jesus made a difference in his life. ( I will save this story for another day.) But, he was also demanding. He expected his rules to be followed no ifs, ands, or buts. He believed in “spare the rod and spoil the child.” (Proverbs 13:24) A look of disappointment was enough to send me looking for a place to hide (I am not talking abuse, just discipline that was not pleasant). The very last thing I wanted to face was his rightful indignation and consequences for breaking the rules he had laid down for our safety and to teach us responsibility that accompanies the privileges given. There was no tolerance for lies, back talk, stealing, disrespect to our mom, and not moving when he said move. I faced his “wrath” more than once and it taught me to count the costs of both obedience and disobedience. He had a strong hand.
This is what the prophets Malachi and Isaiah are referring too. A loving heavenly Father who through the prophets laid down the LAW and the blessings of obedience and cursings (consequences) of disobedience for all His children to know. (Deuteronomy 28) He also, was saying I look out for the weak, vulnerable, and oppressed. In essence, the prophets are reminding the children of God this: You have NOTHING to fear because Abba Father cares for you. However, Abba Father, expects obedience. He is fair to all and the rules apply to all. He means what He says and He has said what He meant for all to understand. You must respect the boundaries. They are for your protection. They prove I love you!
I am thankful for a godly father who loved us enough to be a disciplinarian so I learned these lessons at an early age. I had NOTHING to fear except my dad if I was disobedient or was unkind to another.
We do have a merciful, loving, forgiving, kind, generous God. He gave His only Son up for 33 years to live as we do subjected to this place under the consequences of our disobedience and allowed Jesus to choose to give His life for mine. Why? Would a good Father really do that? The answer is a resounding YES! He did so because He could not stand the thought of eternity without us sharing it with Him. Now, all He asks is that we receive the gift of grace. “For God so LOVED the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son and whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life.” (John 3:16) “For greater love has no man than this, that He lays down His life for His friends.” (John 15:13)
Today, would you ponder this? If you would like to talk someone about this gift of grace, we would all love to share with you what making this decision has meant in our lives. Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus.” (John 14:6)
God’s highest law is mercy and His greatest gift is Jesus. He does not desire to punish (II Peter 3:9) us but to give us a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) I did not “fear” my dad but I had a healthy respect for his authority and only shook in my shoes when I had willfully disobeyed. This is what our Heavenly Father desires as well: His children having a healthy respect for His authority. The Good News is this: His children have no reason to fear for our penalty of disobedience was erased at the cross. Amazing Grace. I stand in awe of Him.
Treading in grace,