Loving, Trusting, and Fearing God

Psalm 67:7

May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him.

Revelation 4:11

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.

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Our love for God and our trust in him are not the fullest expression of a full relationship with God. There is another proper dimension or facet to our relationship with God; that of fear. Indeed, “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things,” [LSC] if we are properly to relate to the God of creation, redemption and sanctification.

Loving God is at least somewhat of a challenge – though apparently appropriate. Trusting God is not natural; but again something we should do. When it comes to fearing God, however, we might draw up short. Fear God: Really?!? But the Bible is filled with calls to fear God. Jesus himself said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Peter urges us to conduct ourselves with fear throughout our life on earth.

Fear, however, seems a lost art. When I post “Today’s Psalms” on Sunday mornings, I choose verses that speak of God’s faithfulness, love, goodness and mercy. I avoid the verses that describe God’s judgment, vengeance, and holiness. The world seems little ready for a call to fear God. But look even closer: God’s blessings to his people are at least in part to cause the world to take note and fear God.

Fear comes not only from terror at God’s glory, might power and majesty. It comes also from his grace. That means that fear is not just a negative emotion; it is part of the acknowledgement of God’s grace and our utter loss if we do not have it. Fear makes love precious. Love makes trust inviting. Trust demands fear. This is the foundation of a rich relationship with our God.

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