There is none like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. Jeremiah 10:6-7 (ESV)
I remember having a fear of my dad when I was a kid growing up. It wasn’t that I was afraid of my dad; he didn’t rule the house with an iron fist. The fear I had was in knowing that if I disobeyed or conducted myself in an unruly manner I would be disciplined. My dad only spanked me a few times, some of which are indelibly planted in my memory. Having this fear as a teenager deterred me from many a wrong-doing.
Most of us view fear as a bad thing and in some cases that’s true. Many verses in the bible exhort us not to fear or be afraid. Jesus comforted his disciples with words like, Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7 ESV) Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32 ESV) The angel of God told Paul not to fear (Act 27:23-24) and in the Revelation Jesus told John not to fear (Revelation 1:17). There are many other biblical passages that exhort us to “fear not” and “be not afraid.”
However there is a type of fear that is healthy. Jesus told his disciples, I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! (Luke 12:4-5 ESV) Jesus was saying that we should be exceedingly frighten, alarmed and in awe of God because he has sovereign authority over our death and our soul.
I think this is the type of fear Jeremiah had in mind when he asked the question, “Who would not fear you, O king of the nations?” It was unconscionable to Jeremiah that a person would not fear God because there is no one like him; he is king of the nations. God is sovereignly in charge and has all the power. No one can do what he can do. There is no one with such great a name and no one as wise.
In the Revelation John described a group of people who had conquered Satan and everything associated with his kingdom. Their song sounds much like the worship offered by Jeremiah. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:3-4 ESV)
God is due our fear. In other words a righteous fear of God gives God the glory, honor and respect he deserves. To fear God is to have an intimate relationship with him making him the highest treasure of our heart. To fear God is to reverence his presence and obey his word. It is also by the fear of the Lord that we depart from evil (Proverbs 16:6).
Do you fear God? Have you given him the glory, honor and respect he deserves?
Scriptures for meditation:
Psalm 33:8; 34:9; 102:15
Proverbs 3:7; 24:21