Spurgeon described holy fear as an act that extends itself to happiness.
Holy fear, the Victorian preacher wrote, is the fear of God – ‘a quite grace which leads a man along a choice road, of which it is written, “No lion shall be there, neither shall any ravenous beast go up thereon.”
The fear of God is the beginning of ALL wisdom. Not worldly wisdom, which lends itself to vanity, but God’s wisdom which lends itself to the preservation of life, light and liberty.
Faith operates, not on a debilitating insecurity of the unknown, but on the certainty of the Word of God, grounded in God’s self-revealing.
God’s wisdom vs. Worldly wisdom.
The latter finds its home in tyranny, the former in the hearts of those who reject it.
Holy fear vs. Worldly fear is the choice between true wisdom and vanity.
God’s wisdom is the gift of true liberation. If, at the end of Holy Fear, man finds happiness, it’s because he’s granted freedom.
Holy fear isn’t a crushing fear. It’s a liberating essential that sets us free from a world demanding that we dumb ourselves down in order to fit in – that we package everything into a safe space, then fear everything, this includes fearing the fear of God.
We are faced with a clear choice between the fear of God, and the fear of man. We either embrace His ‘quiet grace’ and be led by it, or we embrace a self-righteous theology of glory and suffer the consequences for ditching wisdom in favour of vanity. Virtue signalling and self-promotion have no home in Holy Fear.
The old preacher when penning his own reflection on this referred to Proverbs, ‘Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.’ (Proverbs 28:14)
The prior verse states, ‘Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.’
Followed by verse 15, which reads, ‘Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people.’
The wicked ruler demands to be feared, is stubborn, hardened, controlled by appetite and arrogance.
Proverbs states that though the wicked ruler stamps up and down, true wisdom will win the day. For from it springs true freedom.
It’s the wicked ruler who uses crushing fear, not God. It’s the wicked ruler, not God, who is stuck in his ways, and its the wicked ruler, not God, who crushes freedom.
We’re often given the image of God being a long bearded, grey, grumpy old man with a big stick at the ready, keen to slap people down.
Reconsider the stereotype.
Holy fear liberates. Worldly fear incarcerates. Wisdom governs the former. Vanity the latter.
©Rod Lampard, 2021