“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’" (Exodus 20:18-19).
The people of Israel had just witnessed God speaking to them His 10 commandments from Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:1-17). It must have been an awesome sight. The people were afraid to hear God speak to them anymore, so they ask Moses to let God speak to them through him. Then Moses comforts the people by saying, “"Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin."
Having a fear of God is healthy. God did not want the Israelites to be fearful of the lightning and the mountain smoking, but He did want them to fear Him. Having the proper fear of God helps us to have a proper perspective of our lives here on this earth.
When I was growing up I had a fear of my dad. I did not want to get in trouble because my mom would simply say, “If you don’t do as I tell you, I will tell your dad when he gets home”. I knew this meant a spanking for me. So I obeyed what she told me to do. My fear of my dad led me not to sin.
On the other hand, when I grew up I did not fear where my next meal was coming from. I did not fear someone coming into my house to take me away at night because I trusted that my dad would protect our home and provide for our family.
As I have grown older the temptation is for me to begin looking to myself to provide for my family, protect my home, etc. When I do this I begin to fear not being able to provide for my family, protect my home, etc. On the other hand, when I work on keeping a proper perspective of life by fearing God and focus on pleasing Him, I don’t worry about providing for my family and protecting my home. I trust that He will do this! When I fear God as I ought, I don’t fear a lot of the things I should not.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” (Psalm 111:10)