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 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” 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.” Exod. 20:18 – 20
Have you ever been fearful? How about fearful? Hmm…
One of my ‘life-to-this-point’ conclusions that I’ve come to, is that in this life-time I’ll be incapable of imagining the awe I’ll experience when I enter into the presence of the Lord’s full glory in the heavenly realm. In my finite imagination, there is awe and overwhelm but I know my human imagination vs reality are in this case as disconnected as the east from the west.
The Israelites had a pretty solid grasp of what it is to tremble with fear. In this case the bad, paralyzing kind of fear that disables progression, peace and rest and definitely steals our joy. Have you been there? I’m not sure I would have reacted any differently if presented with those circumstances on the mountain that day.
Interestingly enough, as I read it, I smirked (an “ugh” kind of smirk) with the realization that I too am experiencing that paralyzing kind of fear.
So what does that mean for me? It means a LOT of meditating on faith. And lo and behold, I’m studying the life of Moses. Ultimately, the life of God in the life of Moses.
Looking at Moses’ exhortation to the Israelites, I feel as though he is saying, “Hey people! Recognize the magnitude of this moment! Recognize the source of this experience! Recognize the Lord’s majesty as your protection from sinning. Don’t get so comfortable, discouraged or so entitled that you forget the nature and majesty of your Lord! And don’t be afraid of the One who loves you… so… deeply…”
The kind of fear our Lord yearns for us to experience is profound awe, respect and love. That is the kind of fear Moses was referring to that keeps us experiencing the peace He so lavishly provides.
The Lord presented Himself on the mountain that day the way He did to show them He was there and aware and the author and source of power.
Today, the Spirit of God lives in us as believers, as His children. That Spirit IS our source of life, strength, joy, truth and victory. Be guarded against believing that our minds and hearts can go without nourishment from His word and prayer. Being in His word is a targeted way to get to know His character, thoughts about us, and truth about everything from the mundane, to our joys and struggles. Prayer is a way of listening and opening ourselves up to His work and guidance and yes, asking.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1
Lord, please enable us to quickly discern the type of fear we’re experiencing, take captive our thoughts and focus on you and your truths. Amen