Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Fearing God's Name
The idea of fearing God's name, his character and reputation, has been buzzing around in my head for awhile. When my ladies' Sunday School class was working through the book of Malachi, we were constantly reading how they had contempt for God's name and did not fear His name. I guess the buzzing began there. I want to understand more of what it means to fear His name and live in a way that demonstrate this understanding.
I haven't had much time to study this area, but the phrases keeps jumping out at me in Scripture, so I know I'll learn more.
These passages for example:
Psalm 25:14 (NLT) The Lord is a friend to those who fear him.
He teaches them his covenant.
Proverbs 1:7 (NLT) Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Isaiah 33:6 (NLT) In that day he will be your sure foundation,providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge.The fear of the Lord will be your treasure.
I do know that to fear His name is not just to respect what I call God, but to revere his character and essence. But the Hebrew and Greek words that are translated fear mean just that....terror and dread of God. So, it's more than just honor and respect. It means to be aware of His awesomeness, His power, His holiness, and to treat him as set apart because of this awareness. It is to not take Him or my relationship with Him lightly. It is also to recognize how much he hates sin and the right he has to be judge.
A believer balances terror and dread of God with God's love which takes away fear. God's love doesn't change that He is still to be feared, but it allows us to approach Him and have confidence in His presence. I've noticed though that most frequently when somoene is in the presence of God, fear is the first response. Over and over again, God has had to say, "Fear not."
But what about the name part of the phrase? A name is what represents someone to the world. It's their history, their personality, their feelings and thoughts represented in a piece of language. I am to fear the totality of God.
So how do I keep a fearful perspective of God? The answer is found in God's Word. Over and over he commands us to fear Him and demonstrates who he is to us. When we meditate on His power, His awesomeness, His beyond us, then we will have fear.
And what does this mean for my day to day life? As I fear God I will obey what he commands. I won't do it because I'm just afraid of being punished, but rather because I recognize His authority, His power, and His rightness.
One more thing, spend some time with Psalm 103. May you be blessed as you fear His name!