"Football is not a matter of life and death, it is more important than that."
Reacting to fearWhen the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” Exodus 20:18-20 Writing on this passage, Colin Sinclair commented: “Fear is part of the human condition. It can protect or paralyse us”.
The context of this passage is that Moses has just received the 10 commandments on Mount Sinai. The momentous occasion was marked by physical signs. When the angels came to announce the birth of Jesus, we read that the shepherds were terrified. The angels told them not to be afraid. There are 71 examples in Scripture of people being told not to be afraid.
Moses here gives the people a half-hearted reassurance – a kind of “good news, bad news!” He tells them not to fear but goes on to say that the source of their fear will not go away. He says that they are to use their fear in a positive way. As Sinclair says “sometimes the best way to be rid of one fear is to replace it with a bigger one”.
As we fear, the next competition, the pressure, the expectations of those around us, the uncertainty of the future let us instead fear God and let everything else fall into play. And remember the promise in Proverbs 9:10 that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.
PS If fearing God seems a strange concept, some translations use helpful alternative wording:
Respect and obey the LORD! (CEV)
Fear and respect for the LORD. (ERV)
Respect [fear; awe] for the LORD (EXB)