Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fearing God - Eric

Eric Abbey, back row left, and three other men from the University of New Hampshire are nearing the conclusion of their STINT year. They are celebrating because they have reached the goal of our partnership in Astana, Kazakhstan. For years, they have been hoping to establish a nationally-owned and lead movement in Astana that is capable of multiplying itself but they have always lacked men. It’s so like God to raise up a STINT team of only men this year led by Eric.

Next year the Astana team will be all nationals! Eric writes, “We are excitedly celebrating a large and full team of both men and women. Now we are praying and thinking about how we can continue to partner with Astana in the future to reach other cities in the Northeast of Kazakhstan. We have two Summer Project teams coming in June and one team will seek to do pioneer work in a city where we are yet to have a movement. Also, one of the guys from our team, Brendan, will be leading a STINT team next year to another city that has a strong student-led movement, but no national staff as of yet. It is awesome to see the Lord moving to build His church in Central Asia!”

One spring at the University of Northern Colorado where I was the director, I had John Lamb, one of our RDs, come speak to the men. I had heard JL’s same talk dozens of times before then and since but one thing that stood out to me that night was that he said: “a man of God fears God.” I thought, “I intellectually know what it means to fear God but not sure I know what it means to fear Him.” That night sent me on a journey of studying countless passages on fearing God. Fearing God is not only an attribute of a man of God but a leader of God no matter the gender.

One of the first passage I studied that summer was Exodus 20:18-21. (see also Deut 5:23-27) The nation of Israel had just heard God audibly give the Ten Commandments declaring them dead. They heard thunder and trumpets; they saw lightening and Mount Sinai in fire and smoke and they were scared spitless. They had seen God’s glory and majesty and stayed at a distance. They said to Moses, “Old Leader Dude, you go and speak to God and tell us what he says and we will listen. We will die if we hear the voice of the living God. What mortal has ever heard his voice and survived?” Which makes me wonder if they thought Moses was immortal or they wanted him to die?

Moses tells them to “not be afraid. God has come to test you so that the fear of God will keep you from sinning.” So it leads to another good comparison/contrast between being afraid of God and fearing Him.

Response to seeing His glory
Keeps you from transformation
Remain at a distance
Want to live, therefore you stay dead

Response to seeing His glory
Tremble (
Ps 96:9 among others)
Keeps you from sinning
Approach God where He is
Willing to die, therefore you live

The bible is jam-packed with benefits of fearing God in addition it keeping you from sin. Just a few... He fulfills your desires. His eye is on you. His angel encamps around you. You lack nothing. His love is great toward you. You have wisdom and understanding. You are blessed. You have future hope. You are His.

Likewise, there are a boat-load of reasons to fear God. Most of these are in a response to who He is and what He has done. Everyone should fear Him. (Ps 67:7; 76:7-12; 86:7,8; 96:4-9; 99:1; 114:7) Learning to fear of the Lord enables us to live and lead wisely. May we declare and display His glory in a way that leads others to fear His name!

Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. - Ps 85:9

No comments: