Have you ever been told not to play with fire? What did you do? If you’re like me, I bet you played with it anyway! Who hasn’t melted that plastic spoon over the candle during a Banquet. Fire is fun! Fire is awesome. Fire is also incredibly dangerous and can be a source of great destruction. Are you afraid of fire? Probably not, but most of us eventually come to a place of respecting the fire and treat it with careful consideration.
It is interesting to me that scripture refers to God as a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:20 (NKJV) For our God is a consuming fire.
Leviticus 9:24 (NLT) Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.
I share this scripture because it so beautifully depicts God as an all consuming fire. I love how the people were filled with joy, yet they also fell down on their faces in reverence to God.
This is to me, a picture of what the fear of the Lord should look like. The fear of the Lord, is something that has often baffled me. Because obviously, God is love! The Bible even tells us that we shouldn’t have a Spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). So I never fully understood scriptures telling us we should have a fear of the Lord.
Psalm 111:10 (NLT) Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
Psalm 33:8 (NLT) Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him.
Surely it doesn’t mean that we should be trembling with fear of our loving God? Or maybe it does Matthew tells us we should fear the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell! (Matthew 10:28). That’s pretty terrifying.
It is when I put it in the context of fire that it makes sense to me. We shouldn’t walk around terrified of God, but like the fire we should treat God and His presence with great care.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NLT) Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.
This is why I believe that it is the fear of the Lord that leads to wisdom. Like fire we know that God is not something to be played around with. We accept His free gift of salvation, but now we must turn from our sins. We must approach His presence with awe and reverence. We should seek to live in such a way that honors Him completely.
Today is a great time to ask yourself if you’ve lived your life with a healthy fear of the Lord. Are you seeking to live in a way that truly honors him? Not just in avoiding sin, but in the attitudes you have and the way you speak to people?
Maybe throughout this post you’ve realized you don’t fear the Lord in the proper way. Don’t be discouraged, simply ask God to help you develop a renewed fear of the Lord and remember….
Don’t play with fire.