“…Don’t be afraid, because God has come only to test you and make you fear Him, so that you won’t commit sins.” Exodus 20:17(20) CJB
“…I will put fear of Me in their hearts, so that they will not leave me.” Jeremiah 32:40 CJB.
“Don’t fear those who kill the body but are powerless to kill the soul. Rather, fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in Gei-Hinnom.” Matthew 10”28 CJB
‘It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God! Hebrews 10:31 CJB.
My two brothers and I used to, on a fairly periodic basis when we were young, do something called the belt dance, with our father.
My father would usually extend to us the invitation to dance with something like, ”Didn’t I tell you…” or “I told you if you do that again you’re going to get…” spoken to the tune of an unbuckling belt and the sliding of the leather strap from around his trousers.
We would join in singing things like, “…No! No!!! Dad. I won’t do it again! I promise!!" Or something to that affect.
About the time we tried to graciously decline the invitation, turn and run, his hand would grip us under the left arm pit and twirl us back as his right hand, with doubled up belt gripped tightly, would come down with a loud whack on our bottoms. And so together we would twirl counter clockwise in place, he following us as we hopped and twisted away from the direction of the licks.
Three good heartfelt swipes and the dance was usually over, four if the offense was especially egregious. And to the spanking was usually added some sort of penalty to be endured for some period of time, maybe withholding something previously looked forward to.
The last words of the song, as he released his grip were, “This hurt me more than it did you, but it’s for your own good.”
After that we were in harmony with his will and slowly but surely the bad behavior became less and less frequent.
This is what happened in our younger years, in those early years when we didn’t obey out of love for our father but because we were genuinely afraid of him and his discipline. That didn’t mean we were afraid when he was around. These whippings were not a regular occurrence given on a whim but were for when the situation warranted it, usually long overdue and we knew we deserved it.
These whippings reinforced teaching and the foundational teaching was that our parents were the authority in the house not we the children and that right behavior is acknowledged, sometimes rewarded, and wrong behavior is acknowledged as well and always punished. That is a scriptural pattern that points to the relationship we have with our heavenly Father.
Everything in due season.
The responsibility is on the parents to pay attention to their children, know them and teach them…by word and by example…twenty-four/seven.
No one knows a child like that child’s parents and they will wean their children of corporal punishment in favor of more reasoning approaches and explanations regarding consequences that poor behavior and on into bad decision making, reaps.
And so fear is there so that we remember and pause and reconsider. It is healthy and a necessary part of our relationship with our parents and with God.
Consider the scriptures.
God makes us fear Him so that we will not sin.
He himself puts fear in our hearts so that we will not wander from Him.
It’s not reverential fear that we have for men that can take our lives. It’s mortal fear of them because they can. So the healthy fear of He who can take our lives and our souls is not reverential fear either but a fear of Him and what He can do.
When the word “terrifying” is used regarding falling into the hands of the living God it is expressing that we would be wise to be afraid of Him.
Hopefully with regard to our children, we as parents are building trust and love for ourselves in our children’s eyes because our relationship with them that has the element of fear in it also has in it unceasing demonstrations to them of our love for them and desire for their wellbeing and daily examples of them that prove it.
The result it seems, is that the fear of God, that is being afraid of Him, becomes less of a factor in our relationship with Him because as in spite of our waywardness He remains and continues on our behalf, we grow in love for Him. And now is the fear that we will disappoint, grieve, loose favor, shame Him in some way. That fear, that shame becomes our motivation to be in harmony with Him, our punishment for not.
Father…may we be so wise as to fear You, fear You who can be so patient and forgiving yet who can and will, cease with long suffering and cease to forgive.
May that fear motivate us to humble ourselves, to be reverential before You and to draw our attention and obedience to Your will for us.
Abide in us through Your Spirit and open our eyes to Your love for us and Your desire for our well being.
Enable us to be grateful receivers of Your instruction and the necessary chastisement that will be a part of it, that we will learn and remember and not fall away.
May we then dwell in harmony together with one another and with You in Your house forever and ever.
In Yeshua’s name we pray to You Dear Father,
May God’s love be in us all.