18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke,they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” 21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. Exodus 20:18-20
Moses has completed the giving of The Ten Commandments to the Israelites and they respond with awe, reverence, and trembling and they remained at a distance. I can only imagine the thunder, lightning, and trumpet sound but know that I would have been there trembling as well.
The people are standing at a distance so fearful that they tell Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses assures the people that all of God has spoken and that they are experiencing has purpose. It is a test so that the FEAR of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.
It is good to fear the Lord. The Lord, He is God and worthy of our reverential fear. He is to be treated with honor, respect and reverential trust. God is holy and righteous, so completely other and unique, and we are not to treat Him as though He was mere man.
As Moses stated, God had come them keep us from sinning by helping them to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy fear of the Lord. Moses assured the people that they did not need to be afraid of God. To be afraid is to be worried, anxious, even terrified that something undesirable might happen. But rather they (and we) are to love and obey the Lord.
The Lord wants His children to know that we have no reason to be afraid of Him but we are to fear Him, have a deep and abiding respect, honor, and reverential trust in Him as we walk in faith, being sure and certain that He is Who He says He is and He does everything He says – “Now faith is being sue of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).”
Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Matthew 10:28 – And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 – Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole [duty] of man.
Proverbs 14:27 – The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
Psalms 111:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do [His commandments]: His praise endureth for ever.
Luke 1:50 – And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation.
1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I am reminded of God’s perfect love that sent His precious, special, unique Son to earth to make atonement for our sin. The earth quaked that day as well. It was not that we would be afraid but know in an intimate and personal relationship the perfect love that drives out our being afraid.
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. … 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:50-52,54
The earth quaked not so we would be afraid but that the curtain would be torn and we come enter boldly into the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), not that we would run from God but draw near to God (James 4:8), not that we would be afraid but experience joy (Psalm 116:11, Romans 14:17)!
Surely, I thank God for Jesus, our resurrected Savior on this day! It is my privilege to love and fear Him!
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1