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Healthy Fear – Clear Focus

fear-of-the-lordIt’s true that we are assured of access to God through Christ, but that doesn’t mean we have a tame God.

Even God “veiled” in human form produced moments of intense awe for Jesus’ disciples—as he multiplied the loaves and fish, calmed the storm, and raised the dead.

But the more direct encounter with God at Mt. Sinai created wholesale panic.

Interact with God’s Word:  Exodus 20:18-21; Deuteronomy 5:28-29

  1. Why (Exod. 20:18) do you think God linked the giving of the law with such a dramatic display of power and authority?
  2. Why do you think the people stood at a distance (Exod. 20:21) and asked Moses to serve as a “buffer” (v. 19) between them and God?
  3. When the people said they would listen to God’s words conveyed through Moses, were they committing to obey what they heard?
  4. How did God gauge the people’s response (Deut. 5:28-29)?
  5. Why do you think the biblical record of human encounters with God or angelic beings (Exod. 20:20) almost invariably begins with the words, “Don’t be afraid”?
  6. What might be included in treating your wife with understanding?

Spend Time in Prayer:  Ask God to help you hold in healthy tension a profound respect for his holy “otherness” with loving gratitude for the grace and mercy he has provided through his Son.

Exodus 20:18-21; Deuteronomy 5:28-29

18 When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear.

19 And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!”

20 “Don’t be afraid,” Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!”

21 As the people stood in the distance, Moses approached the dark cloud where God was.

28 “The Lord heard the request you made to me. And he said, ‘I have heard what the people said to you, and they are right. 29 Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever.

Prayer for the Week: God, I confess that I’ve minimized your breathtaking holy otherness in my mind. Restore the fear that puts my sin and your salvation into focus.

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