4 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

Exodus 19:16–21:21
Matthew 23:13-39
Psalm 28:1-9
Proverbs 7:1-5

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Exodus 20:20 (CSB) “Moses responded to the people, ‘Don’t be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that you will fear him and will not sin.'”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

You gotta admit that Moses’ words in our Verse for Today seem oxymoronic. It seems as if his words contradict each other.

“Don’t be afraid . . .”

“. . . so you will fear him. . .”

So, let’s go back a few verses to get some context.

Exodus 20:18-19 (CSB) “All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it they trembled and stood at a distance. ‘You speak to us, and we will listen,’ they said to Moses, ‘but don’t let God speak to us, or we will die.'”

Leading up to Moses’ words, we see that God displayed some amazing signs as His presence remained on the top of Mt. Sinai. Thunder and lighting, loud trumpet blasts, and a thick cloud surrounding the mountain were enough to strike fear in the hearts of every Israelite who beheld the impressive scene.

So, they told Moses: “You talk to God for us. We are terrified of Him. Please don’t let Him talk to us or we will die.”

They were terrified of God! They were so afraid that they didn’t want Him anywhere near them!

Exodus 20:20 (CSB) “Moses responded to the people, ‘Don’t be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that you will fear him and will not sin.'”

Essentially, Moses said that God demonstrated His awesome power so that the Israelites would realize that He is not to be trifled with. He had better be taken seriously. When He gives commands, they had better be obeyed. If disobedience ensues, then confession and repentance had better quickly follow.

But, He did NOT want His people to be perpetually afraid of Him.

This is how we are to view God as well. We should realize that He isn’t our buddy. He isn’t “the man upstairs.” He is God Almighty who has the will and power to do anything He pleases. And He despises sin so we had better quickly confess and repent of sin and get back on the road to holiness.

But, while God wants us to take Him seriously, He doesn’t want us to be afraid of Him. That kind of fear would keep us from enjoying Him. That kind of fear would push us away from Him rather than draw us nearer to His heart – which is exactly where He wants us.

Work on cultivating this balance:

  • fear God enough that you are properly motivated to pursue holiness and not to remain in sin, but
  • refuse to have a fear of God that pushes you away from Him rather than draws you nearer to Him.

Hear Moses’ words once again and let it inform how you relate to God.

Exodus 20:20 (CSB) “Moses responded to the people, ‘Don’t be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that you will fear him and will not sin.'”