In the popular book by C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe we read the following:

"ASLAN is a lion - The Lion, The Great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe?

'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

People fear many things, death, injury, pandemics, natural disasters, crime, war, the devil, lions. But what about God? Should we fear God? If so, why?

What does it mean to "fear" God? To fear God means you respect Him and take Him seriously when He tells us things like; one day all will have to give an account to Him for all of our secret deeds, good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Or, as it says in Exodus 34:7 that He will "by no means clear the guilty". This poses a big problem and here it is.

When most people think of God (if they believe in Him) they think of Him as a nice grandfather type who is not too concerned with people's lives and who will, in the end, be nice to everyone and overlook their imperfections. No hell, no accountability, nothing really to worry about, you know, a nice cuddly God who is never going to really punish people for their sin. Doing that is actually making a god in your own image. This is a direct violation of the 1st & 2nd Commandments, "Do not have any gods before me and do not make unto yourselves any image or likeness of God:" (Ex. 20:3-6). But all through scripture man is required to fear God. Both those who hate Him and those who love Him.

Here is where it gets worse. Romans 3:10-18 tells us the condition of mankind without the fear of God:

"None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.

All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."

..."There is no fear of God before their eyes."

Let me explain this situation; Proverbs 1:7 says: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." When a person fears God and begins to see God's greatness something happens to him. That person begins to see himself as a rebel and an unclean sinner. That person becomes knowledgeable of their condition before God and he then desires the instruction that will correct his bad behavior. Provers 8:13 sums it up his way: "The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil." A person who fears God will hate their sin. This will lead him to repent (stop sinning) and cry out to God for help and mercy.

Remember the big problem mentioned earlier? We are dealing here with the One who can destroy all humanity in the blink of an eye if He so wills. Yet, this same God is the one who had such love for humanity that He Himself came down to this earth as Jesus 2000 years ago and willingly gave Himself as a dying sacrifice, taking on the responsibility of your sins and mine as if He did them himself. Problem solved. You are guilty but He paid the penalty. What does He require of you? To repent, hate your sins (stop doing them) and to cry out to Him for mercy and forgiveness. It is that simple.

Lastly, in Revelation 1:17 when John, (likely the closet friend to Jesus) saw Jesus face to face it paralyzed him. He was overwhelmed with a "fear of God". John wrote: "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last." John's fear of God brought him to a place of trust and safety in the presence of God, (like the Great Lion), who is not safe, but is good. Jesus then placed his hand on John and said "Do not be afraid". This is how God deals with us when we fear Him and trust Him with a heart of repentance and a willingness to follow Him and ask Him to forgive. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9.

- Keith Oliver

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