WHICH IS IT? Luke 1 and Ecclesiastes 12

Angels reassure Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds to ‘fear not’.  Earlier one of God’s angelic messengers tells Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, much the same–‘…Do not be afraid…’ (Luke 1: 13).  Stop worrying.  No nail biting or pulling out your hair.  Yet elsewhere in the Bible, we’re told to fear the Lord.  Ecclesiastes 12: 13– ‘Fear God and keep his commandments…’  Deuteronomy 6:13–‘It is the Lord your God you shall fear.’  So, which is it?  Fear not or fear?  A confusing kettle of fish?

On the one hand, fear of the Lord has to do with our relationship with Him.  That He’s God and we’re not.  He’s all-powerful, all-knowing, all-everything.  We’re not even close.  Okay, you’re smart, many of you.  After all, God created you in His image.  But being created as such is not the same as being God.  Not by a long shot.

To fear the Lord is to bow down before Him.  To respect and obey Him.  To love and honor Him, showing reverence.  To know our place at His feet, which honors Him and humbles us.  Should take the starch out of our self-absorption.  Knocks us down a peg or two.  Seats us at God’s table with Jesus at the head, the place of honor.  Don’t try to nudge Him aside.  Be satisfied to have a chair at His banquet.  I’m fortunate to get in through the back door finding any spot to park myself.  No grumbling from the likes of me.

On the other hand, when you know Him, and have that closeness which you can feel in your spiritual bones, believing His promises, with peace settling in, as His protection fends off anxious fears and worries, at least some of them for some of the time for some of us here on fractured planet earth.  For the closer we get to Jesus, the more those pesky jitters fly away.  Good riddance!

So, choose to believe Him.  To claim Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  To take His name as your own.  Christian.  A little Christ, enjoying a large piece of humble pie.  With nothing to fear really.  Accept the paradox–when I fear, love, and respect the Lord, I have nothing to fear in this life.  Makes sense?  Think so?  Hope so.  I’m still working on it.

Lord Jesus, I love and worship you, wanting to be your faithful follower.  Amen.

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