I think about “the fear of God” a lot. People have told me, “Fearing God is not healthy or good for us.” That’s not what the Bible says. Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s an “unhealthy fear,” where we try to run from God (think Adam and Eve after sinning). But, the good kind of “the fear of God” is connected with all kinds of blessings. Let’s consider Abraham. His son of promise, Isaac, was the joy of his life. Born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age, Isaac (whose name means laughter), brought praise and laughter to all who knew them. Suddenly, in the very next chapter after the rejoicing over Isaac’s birth, we see Abraham immersed in the greatest test of his life. It came down to this: would Abraham fear the Lord and obey Him—even if it meant giving up his son? What meant the most to him in this earthly life? The intensity of the drama continues to the very moment of Abraham raising his hand to bring the knife down on his son Isaac. Suddenly, the angel of the Lord speaks out, “Do not lay a hand on the boy…do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12). The “angel of the Lord” is a designation for the Lord himself. Why would the Lord say, “Now I know”? Is this because the Lord did not know of Abraham’s devotion and needed to find out by this test? Not at all. The Lord does not test us for His information but for our revelation. His tests reveal the grace of God working in us and through us. Abraham realized through this experience that God was truly first in his heart and that he feared God more than anything else. So, how do we know if we truly fear God? Can we honestly say that nothing is more important to us than the Lord? When put to the test, will we be willing to release what is near and dear to us? Or, will we say no to God and perhaps turn from Him? His grace is available to us and will carry us through every test. We can come out on the other side of the test and say, “Yes, I fear the Lord because He is first in my life”…and be blessed!
Pastor Mark Boucher