Welcome back everyone. After two weeks of talking about how much fear is affecting our lives, I had some great news tonight. We’re going to talk about all. Which is the reality that is designed to overcome fear in our lives by God. We’re going to look at too two questions tonight. First of all, what is the definition of this thing?
We call fearing God or what I’m calling all. And secondly, what are the benefits of this awe. First by way of definition, uh, we find that the Bible has hundreds of verses both the old and new Testament about fearing God. It’s a, it’s a major priority in the scriptures. And we learned that there are actually two ways that people fear God.
One is an initial way. The initial fear of God is actually the sense that we are afraid of him. Because he is dangerous. That awareness comes when you begin to see both God and yourself. Uh, we see him as a creator. We begin to understand that there is some accountability to this God, this maker of everything, the Psalmist says it this way.
Let all the in Psalm 33, verse eight, let all the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in. All of him for he spoke and it came to be, he commanded. And it’s stood firm. Then you begin to sense potentially that you are accountable to this God and that your sin, whether it is selfishness, whether it is unkindness to others is ultimately against this, this God who has created you with the capacity to live according to his principles of a righteous living.
And there is a sense of accountability and that you begin to realize that that. What you did in sinning was actually say no to God, say, no, I’m going to do it my way. I’m, I’m going to live as the Lord of my own life. And that there really is a sense in which you are under the judgment of God, Jesus summarizes this, this initial sense of fear of God in Luke chapter 12, verse five.
And he advocates it. Here’s what he says. But I’ll show you whom you should fear, fear him, who after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes. I tell you fear him. Luke 12, verse five. This is not the primary sense of fearing God in the Bible, but it is the necessary starting place.
Now there’s a common ground in these two fears of God. Both involve a recognition of God’s bigness and God’s greatness. In the one fear we are overwhelmed with dread because of those realities. That’s the initial fear of God. In the second, there is delight for those very qualities of his bigness and his power and his greatness.
The one fears God, as a servant, might with a tyrannous master. The one fears God, as a child. Fears, a loving parent, C S Lewis beautifully portrays this in his books. Uh, the lion book, the lion, the witch and the wardrobe. And this is a story of a fictitious fantasy land called Narnia for children go there.
And when they’re in the land soon, they, they. They, uh, come into contact with mr. Mrs. Beaver. And they’re talking, mr. And mrs. Beaver enthusiastically talking about this guy, Aslan, who is coming, who is coming as the returning King, and he’s going to make everything right in the land of Narnia and the kids are curious.
And so they ask questions. Lucy asks, is he a man? As an a man says, mr. Beaver severely sternly. Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great emperor beyond the seed. Don’t you know, who is the King of the beast? Aslan is a lion, the lion, the great lion said, Susan. I thought he was a man.
Is he. Safe to which ms. said, I shall feel rather nervous about meeting Elian. Mrs. Beaver responds that you will dare. He make no mistake. If there’s anyone who can appear before Azlan, without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or just. Silly the children. Yeah. Eventually come upon the great lion as he’s holding court in his pavilion.
And the, all of the followers of Narnia are around him. And when they see him, they are filled with fear. They, they see the power he’s bigger than they expected. He’s mightier than any lion they had ever anticipated coming across. He’s more powerful than they imagined, and they felt their smallness. As a matter of fact, they sort of Jostle with each other to not be the first one that comes into his gaze that they’re intimidated by him.
This is the first sense. Of fearing God fear mixed with dread some characteristics of this initial fear. Three of them quickly would be one. It arises from the threat of God’s punishment. Secondly, it is concerned with self-preservation this fear of God doesn’t necessarily draw someone to God. It just, um, uh, it doesn’t make them want to know him and enjoy him.
They actually try to pull away because of it. And third and only knows God in his attributes of greatness, his power, his transcendence, his eternality has all knowing his holiness. But as the story of Narnia unfolds, the children’s perception of the lion changes. They see him differently. They see him rescue their brother Edmond who had selfishly endangered, everyone and caused the capture of an innocent individual.
They see Asalyn sacrifice himself to take Edmond’s place. As he receives the penalty for Edmund’s crimes. They see how the Narnians love. Azlan. And trust him, the chills children still recognize his power. His, his claws don’t look any shorter. His teeth don’t look at him any less menacing. His roar is not softer.
It’s still just as ferocious and loud, but they come to trust him. They come to love him. They come to believe that he will always use his power with kindness and goodness. They do not lose his fear of him. But it is coupled with love and trust. This is the second and truest sense of fearing God in the scripture.
It is the fear of delight. It is all. Now you may be listening right now and you may say, I wait a minute. I, I have an objection. I don’t feel I have ever. Considered God dangerous. I don’t, I don’t feel I’ve ever been afraid of God. So I don’t know why you say that’s the initial fear and we need to pass through it.
Well, let me, let me say this. If you know Jesus Christ as your savior, if you have embraced Christ into your life and come to know God in the way we’re talking about it, with this second sense of fear of God, I would suggest you have come through that first. There came a time when you realized that God saw your sin.
There came a point when you recognize that sin mattered and it was against a Holy God, there came a point when you recognized that you were deserving of eternal separation of God is, as he says in Hebrews, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living. God, you, you realized that your righteousness and you couldn’t measure up and, and, and that you deserved God’s judgment.
But if you’ve come to know Christ as your savior what’s changed is you also saw the goodness of God. You saw grace and it is grace. Infused fear of God, which is where the Bible is trying to take everyone that they would see. He is great. He is dangerous. If you will, in his power, he can do anything. But through the eyes of his goodness, we see he is a God to be trusted and adored a grace infused fear of God is.
We are in awe of him because of all that he is Isaiah 11, three talks about the godly man and says his delight. His delight is in fearing God. This is why jesus’ life on earth was such a gift to us. Living on this side of new Testament days. He reveals both realities of God’s nature by walking among us, we still see his attributes of greatness.
Is power raising the dead healing, the six X exercising demons and so forth. We still see his Holy majesty. He commands the winds and waves to muzzle it. Literally he, uh, overturns the table in the, in the temple, but we also see his compassion to the afflicted, his mercy, to sinners, his patience with his followers and his foes.
He’s kind in general and the embodiment of love. We’re invited to be stunned with all God is God wants us to be AUSTRAC with his might and his mercy with his unfettered Lordship, and his unfailing love that we might then see his bigness and that because of his goodness, we recognize. That he employs his goodness and his power as resources for his children.
This is what it means to fear God with the sense of all with a grace infused fear of God is we adore him. We’re stunned with him. And the result is these benefits. Number one, as we truly grow in our sense of all with who God is, it humbles us at the end of the book of job where Joe has been sort of arguing with God, uh, about what has taken place in his life and why God did it and how God had been unfair.
And the whole process. God tells things to job that he’s never done to that point. To any human being. He just talks with them and share things about himself with Joe. Joe is astonished as he is reminded of, of the glory and the majesty and the wonder of God. And here’s how he responds job. 40 verse four Jobe said behold, I’m a small account.
What shall I answer you? I, I, I lay my hand over my mouth. God continued to share more things about himself. And in job, 42 job says this, a man I had heard of you, but a hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. When we see grudge, glory and grander, his greatness and his goodness.
It humbles us. We’re all odd. Jennifer styler is a part of an international group of scientists called the scientific research movement. Their goal is to study all, they are secular scientists, at least the ones that I have become familiar with. And she is a part of that movement. Studied 122 different countries around the world seeking to find from them.
Uh, did they in fact have a sense of this, this thing called awe her conclusion was that every culture she studied had a word for all, and that when they showed emojis. Every one of the 122 countries recognized that was the emoji for the experience of all things like raised eyebrows, widened eyes, raised, head and eyes, open mouth, just the.
That since they recognize that’s all, she also said that whenever anyone experienced that sense of awe, the first result was everyone felt small. There was a humility that resulted. She also mentioned that it also made people feel more connected with others and more sensitive to others. Dacher Keltner is professor of UC Berkeley.
And he wrote an article, actually did a Ted talk entitled why all is such an important part and emotions. He makes a statement. Humans don’t have great physical power, not overly fast. Don’t have giant canines teeth. The thing that is our signature strengths is that we have a sense of all. Our ability to Revere things, to treat them as sacred, to become worshipers of them.
He defines all this way. All is being in the presence of some presence of something vast. Beyond our current understanding, he studied 30 different cultures and asked what produces all he found it was music, art, religious experience, nature. And these were the two biggest qualities. The number one, two things he saw with the impact of all and all inspiring experience.
Number one, it gave you a sense of your own smallness. Secondly, it moves you out of self-focus to a concern for others when we are all by God. We recognize our smallness, that we recognize the there is something bigger and grander that I can, I can link myself to being got by God. As a believer reminds you that you were never designed to cope with your struggles.
You are not strong enough. You are not wise enough. You are not capable enough. But you have a mighty father who is on your side, and God wants to all us with himself to say, I never asked you to carry this. I want you to lean into me. Let me carry it for you. It humbles us. Secondly, the benefit of all is that it deepens our trust in God.
Exodus 1431 as the Israelites came through the red sea and they saw the resulting waters crashed down on the chariots of Egypt. And they were just stunned. It says this in verse 30, one of Exodus 14. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him.
They feared God. They were awed by him. And the result was they put their trust in him. This is the purpose of God offering us that we would trust in him. The third thing it does, it overcomes our fierce. I want to close today with a story it’s about King David. It’s about the origin of Psalm 34. In Psalm 34, just prior to David writing, Psalm 34.
And the text actually tells us in the, in the, in the, uh, inscription at the beginning, uh, when it happened, David has had become convinced that even though David was the young general of King Saul’s army in Israel that saw hated him, hated him enough, that he was planning to kill him. David literally physically fled from Saul’s palace.
He determined that the only safe place he could go would be to travel 60 miles to the West and go with the Philistines and hopefully be able to enter there. Incognito offered himself as a, as a mercenary and fight. Cause that’s what he was. He was a warrior. On the way he stopped at the high priests, uh, uh, house and, and grounds and the high priest talk, man.
And he was so fearful that the high priest might tips all off to where he was, that he lied about why he was there. He was a man that was afraid. He was scared. He was alone and he felt it all. And, and he traveled to those 60 miles to the Philistine city of Gath. And when he arrived there, hoping to be brought in and hired into there as a mercenary, apparently he was outed because somebody recognized him.
And unfortunately in the palace of, of Gath, they knew the Jerusalem Diddy of the day. Saul. Has killed his thousands, David, his tens of thousands. Now, the reason that was a problem was a good number of those tens of thousands were Felicity and soldiers and David realized he’s trapped. So he fiends insanity.
Let’s spit a run down his face. He starts crawling a cloth on the door. I mean, he just acts like a madman and they send him on his way, but he’s still filled with fear. And he’s now fleeting South he’s fleeting from the Philistines seats, fleeting from Saul and somewhere out in the wilderness. Soon after that event, God changed his heart.
In the midst of his fear, God gave him and restored to him, his faith and his courage and Psalm 34 is David writing about it. And in this Psalm, he says this in verse four, I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. And then he says, how, and here’s what he says, fear the Lord, you, his saints.
For those who fear him have no lack. And then he even says this to them. He offers this to the reader in verse 11, come now children, listen to me. I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What’s he saying? I was a scared rabbit. I was overwhelmed with fear and dread and panic. I felt alone. And what God did was all me.
He filled my mind again with the fact of who he is and what he is. And I, I was struck with all of God and I found that it was the, all of God that freed me from the tyranny of my fear. David learned the secret that is presented throughout the Bible. We conquer fear with fear. We overcome our fears with awe and over these next seven sessions, we’ll be looking at those things that God reminds us of about himself, his goal is to awe us.