This is the fourth episode in a series that I am calling The Bible Mountain Parables. In this series, we are addressing some of the most basic and fundamental questions that we as human beings should answer. In today’s episode we will discuss fear. Should we be afraid of God?
First episode: How do we know if God exists?
Second episode: How can I believe in a God whom I haven’t seen?
Third episode: Are we as powerful as we think we are?
(Scroll down below the video if you prefer to read a transcript.)
Thanks for watching this episode of Bible Mountain dotcom. This is the fourth episode in a series that I am calling The Bible Mountain Parables. In the first episode, we concluded that when we observe the world we live in, the logical, intelligent conclusion is that there is a living, intelligent being out there somewhere who created the universe and everything in it, including us. In the second episode, we concluded that just as there are historical documents that testify to the existence of people like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, so too there are historical documents that testify to the existence of God. In the third episode we concluded that when we observe the world we live in, the logical, intelligent conclusion is that God is by far the most powerful force in the universe and that there is nothing in the universe that can stop God from doing anything He wants to do. In future episodes we will talk about authority, life after death, and the meaning of life, but before we get to those topics, in today’s episode we will discuss fear. Should we be afraid of God? Throughout this series I am using parables to discuss these various questions, so let’s get started with today’s first parable:
Once upon a time a professor did some research on how companies conduct new employee orientation. First, the professor observed orientation for apprentice electricians. The instructor started by taking them to an electrical panel and pointing out all the parts inside the panel that carry enough electricity to kill a person. The next day the professor observed new employees at the zoo. Here the manager took them around the zoo and pointed out all the dangerous animals that will kill people. On the third day the professor visited a science lab where the chief scientist started by pointing out all the chemicals that are capable of creating deadly vapors and/or deadly explosions.
Why did all the orientation sessions include fear? They included fear because fear is essential to survival. There are forces in our world such as animals, storms, chemicals, and energy that are powerful enough to kill people, and if we don’t know what those forces can do and how to protect ourselves, we may get ourselves killed. Therefore, when working with any of these forces, it is wise to start by learning what to be afraid of so that we know how to be safe.
Now let’s think about God. God is the most powerful force in the universe. He is far more powerful than any animal, storm, chemical, or energy. He has enough power to kill people instantly and to destroy the entire earth. Just as we need to know when to fear any other force that has the power to harm us, so too we need to know when to fear God, so that we know how to be safe. Now let’s look at a second parable:
The Riding Stable.
Once upon a time, a riding stable took delivery of a new horse. The former owner had warned the stable that the horse had a tendency to get spooked somewhat easily, and that it had even thrown experienced riders. The day after receiving the horse, a young child arrived at the stable for a riding lesson. The riding instructor rode the new horse and had no problems with it whatsoever; however, based on the previous owner’s warning, the instructor refused to even consider putting the child on the new horse.
Why was the instructor afraid to put the child on the new horse, even though his first hand experience with the horse was all positive? The instructor was afraid because the eye witness testimony of the previous owner was enough to convince him that the horse had a history of creating danger and that putting a child on the new horse was not a good idea.
Now let’s apply this to God. Several thousand years ago, on multiple occasions, God interacted with humanity, and there were people who saw Him punish people who disobeyed God. Some of these eyewitnesses wrote down their observations and their writings have been preserved for us down to this very day. Just as eyewitness testimony from other people makes us afraid to ride an unpredictable horse, so too eyewitness testimony that God is able and willing to punish those who disobey Him should make us afraid to disobey God. Now let’s look at a third parable:
Once upon a time a businessman was searching for a particular restaurant. After searching for 5 minutes, he went up to a police officer and asked for directions. The officer pointed him in the right direction, and the businessman went and had some lunch. After he was done with lunch, the businessman left and walked down a stretch of sidewalk that was closed to pedestrians. Out of the corner of his eye, the businessman saw the same police officer watching him, so he deliberately walked away from the officer, hoping the officer would not bother to come after him.
The first time the business man saw the police officer, he had no fear and he went to him and asked for help; however, the second time he saw the officer, he was afraid of him and went the other way. Why? Well, before lunch, the business man was innocent, he needed help, and the officer was more than happy to provide help. However, after lunch, the business man was breaking the law and he was afraid that the officer would do his job and enforce the law.
A relationship with God works the same way. God loves us and He is able and willing to help and guide us; however, God has also given us rules we need to obey, and we should be afraid to disobey His rules, because He is willing and able to enforce His rules.
So what is the conclusion from all this?
Fear is a good thing, because fear teaches us how to be safe. Electricity, storms, wild animals, fires, chemicals, explosions, and other forces are able to harm us. We are not safe from these forces, until we know enough to be afraid of them. Once we are afraid, then we know how to be safe.
The same is true of God. In the past, God has demonstrated that He is able and willing to punish people who do not obey Him. We are not safe from God’s punishment until we know enough to fear His punishment. Once we are afraid of God’s punishment, then we know how to be safe.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”