A Healthy Fear

Exodus 19:16-25

What a magnificent experience! If you live in an area shaken by earthquakes, you feel a little ripple now and then, get a funny feeling, and then life returns to normal. But how often do you see a granite mountain shaking, or hear constant thunder rumbling from lightning strikes between clouds and earth, or shrink before the long blasts of heavenly trumpets announcing that God is ready to meet you?

Just your regular, ho-hum quiet time, right? In no way. Can you imagine how Moses felt when the Lord said to Moses, “Come up, Moses”? Wow! If you were Moses, what would you do now? How would you do it? How could you carry on? I’ll tell you how: with fear and trembling Moses made that historic journey up into the clouds. He’d stood before a burning bush, but that was nothing compared to this epochal experience. The writer of Hebrews says, “So terrible was the sight, that Moses said, ‘I am full of fear and trembling’ ” (Hebrews 12:21).

A healthy fear of God will hold us in awe and do much to deter us from sin. When we have a proper fear of the living Lord, we live a cleaner life. Any born-again person who sins willfully has momentarily blocked out any fear of God. You and I can do that. When we actively engage in sin, we consciously put aside what we know to be the truth about God. We deliberately suppress the knowledge of Him in our hearts and minds. We lie to ourselves by saying, “We’ll get by. God won’t mind so much.” Yet God used Moses to reveal to His people a reverential and healthy fear of the Almighty.

When you come to that understanding, and God’s light breaks into your life like the pure whitewater of a rushing river, you learn to thoroughly hate and dread those actions that will plunge you again into darkness. The psalmist expressed that thought with these words: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:103–105 NIV).

Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.