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Lowell Brueckner

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The Fear of God versus Modern-Day Flippancy


I am enjoying a daily devotional given to us by our son, Dave. It is called, “How Great Thou Art”, compiled by Steve Halliday and William Travis (Multnomah Publishers). Whereas I have often had to move back a generation or two and look outside of America to find someone with a proper concept of God, this book includes excellent writers, modern and historic, from different parts of the world.

I have often deplored the exaggerated familiarity that translates “Daddy” for the endearing Aramaic term, “Abba”. Have you heard people address God as Daddy in their prayers? Please allow me to quote a devotional taken from the modern author and teacher W. Bingham Hunter (Phoenix Seminary) and then go on to another by John Daniel Jones of Wales (1865-1942).

“Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty.” Isaiah 2:10

Christian appreciation for God’s astounding gift of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation in Christ has been allowed to consume the awesome reality of His terrible holiness… We have turned statements about freedom to speak openly during prayer (what the New Testament calls ‘boldness’) into license for flippancy… We have forgotten that Jesus, who taught us to call God Abba (Dear Father), also called Him Holy Father, Righteous Father and Lord of heaven and earth.

Many of the arguments against holy terror are based on faulty theological systems (“the ‘fearful’ image of God belongs to the dispensation of Law”), imprecise exegesis (“God has not given us a spirit of fear”) or the existence of psychopathology (“some Christians do have phobias about God”). But without a sense of God’s awesome holiness, and the consequent “fear”, we simply do not have biblical religion (my emphasis)…

Fearing God is not irrational. It is the only course open to a thinking Christian. Those who do not fear God in the biblical sense either do not understand, or find themselves forced to deny, the facts of existence.      
                                                                                                W. Bingham Hunter

“The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble…” Psalm 99:1
We are constantly deploring our lack of the sense of sin. Is that because we have obscured God’s holiness? Sometimes I wonder whether the very emphasis we have laid on the tenderness and gentleness and patience of God’s fatherly love has made it easy for men to sin. We have made God’s forgiveness so cheap that sin has come to appear a light and trivial matter.

If that is so, let us this day remind ourselves of the holiness of God; let us lift up our eyes to the shining peaks of His ‘awful purity’. Let us remind ourselves that this Holy God is on the throne – and that He is on the throne to maintain purity and righteousness. The will that rules is a holy will. The power that governs is a holy power.

All who sin bring themselves into collision with theh sovereign will and power of the universe. No wonder our Lord said, “Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:44, KJV)
                                                                                                John Daniel Jones


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