The Two Faces of Fear

A major recurring theme throughout the scriptures is that the children of the Almighty should be free from fear.

In Gen. 15 Abraham was instructed not to fear because Yahvah Himself would be his protection.  Yahvah spoke to Joshua the son of Nun and told him to “be not afraid…” In Samuel’s day the people were told not to fear, even though they had committed a great sin by demanding a king to rule over them. One of King Saul’s greatest downfalls was that he feared the people.

This kind of fear paralyzes people and leaves them powerless. It was David’s lack of fear that enabled him to kill a giant with a slingshot. The righteous are bold as a lion. The three Hebrew children did not hesitate to let the king know they would not bow to his idol, even when they knew the alternative was to face the fiery furnace. Repeatedly Yahvah spoke through the prophet Isaiah telling His people not to fear because He had chosen them and was there to help them. (Is. 41 & 43 etc)

Yahshua comforted His disciples by saying “Fear not little flock, it’s the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom." We are also told that perfect love casts out fear, and that we’ve not been given a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

It was a misguided fear that caused the unjust steward to bury his talent instead of utilizing it to produce gain for his Master and he eventually lost everything he’d been given. Then in Revelation we are told that the fearful will be cast into the lake of fire so evidently it is not a minor issue.

We must not let fear rob us of our joy. But it’s important for us to realize that the fear of Yahvah is the beginning of wisdom.

Abraham’s obedience was proof that he feared Yahvah.  (Gen. 22:12)   And it was a holy fear that motivated Noah to build an ark for the saving of his family.  At Mt. Sinai Yahvah used lightening, thunder and earthquakes to instill a fear in His people to discourage them from sinning.  Ex. 20:20

Hananiah was chosen as a leader by Nehemiah because he feared Elohim above many. (Neh.7:2)   While David did not fear the Philistines he said “my flesh trembleth for fear of Thee and I am afraid of thy righteous judgments.” Oh how we need that kind of holy fear today.  Even David’s rejoicing was tempered with fear and trembling.   (Ps. 2:11)

Isaiah said the Almighty would look to the broken-hearted people who trembled at His word.

We need some weeping trembling prophets today, like the Apostle Paul for instance.  (1Cor. 2:3) He came in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, which is what enabled him to demonstrate the power of the spirit. He was aware of the fact that he could be a castaway if he didn’t keep his body in subjection.

Of course you may ask, “if it’s the Father that works in us to do His good pleasure than why do we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling?” Because we must be humbled before He can lift us up, and we have to be emptied before He can fill us.

Joy is the product of a holy grief. If you have a healthy fear of your Creator then you won’t have an unhealthy fear of man, or an unhealthy fear of failure, or an unhealthy fear of rejection.

Why is it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living Elohim? Because he can destroy both body and soul in the fire of Gehenna. So we ought to give the most earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.  For we are made partakers with the Messiah if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. Let us therefore fear lest any of us should come short of entering into His rest.

Part of a minister’s job is to arouse a holy fear in the hearts of sinners and to awaken them to their sinful condition. That is not an easy task when people are pre-occupied with the cares of life or their sports or their religion, etc.  It is especially difficult when people’s minds have been programmed by exposure to electronic media.  But I am grateful that even these giants are not too big for our Savior.

So how do we recognize a healthy fear?

  1. It will be a fear that produces obedience (Eccl. 12:13,14) which will yield freedom from sin.
  2. It will be characterized by humility which eventually will yield joy.
  3. It will be fear that overcomes all other fears.
  4. It will be accompanied by the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

And finally it’s the song of Moses and the Lamb that asks the question, “Who shall not fear thee O Yahvah and glorify thy name?”

Let’s give Him the reverence that He is due.