Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fear: Not just an emotion but an action

If you will fear the Lord and serve him and heed his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well....only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you. I Samuel 12:14, 24 NRSV

In Samuel's final address, he reminds the people to fear God. But he isn't asking for an emotional commitment. He is asking for action. Did you hear these action words: serve, heed, not rebel, follow and consider? For the prophet and judge Samuel, fear has more to do with doing than being. I suppose true fear could make you powerless and inclined to do nothing but cower in a corner. However, Samuel wants the people to do more. Samuel is asking them to follow God, to learn and do what God asks them to do, and to do their actions for God and God's glory.

The reason he gives for all this activity is not to avoid punishment. It is quite the opposite. God wants them to remember all the things that God has done for them. The people's fear should be based on the wonderful and saving activity of their God. Not the terrible things about God but the good things about God which God has obviously done.

So, fearing God is not being afraid of God but fearing God means to act out of commitment and gratitude.

God, thank you for all the things that you have done in my life and the things you continue to do in my life. I pray that I will follow, serve, and heed your voice and your commandments wholly and faithfully. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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