Maybe God isn’t your best bud, after all
Proverbs 9:10a says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”
Who fears the Lord? That’s a good question these days. Conservative theology and its practitioners are quiet on this these days. Liberal theology and its practitioners don’t often want to walk or talk here. A great number of non-attending church people and secular deists follow the liberals, saying, “Fear? I don’t fear God. He’s my friend.”
Wherever you are (or are not) on the spectrum on the subject of God, I’m not so sure God is your friend. In the triune sense, the Father isn’t your best bud per se. The Creator of the ever-expanding universe IS love, oh yes; I think the Gospel of John gets God’s essence right on; and best friends DO love without question; but Jesus, the Son, is your best friend, your best bond, and your intimate encounter. Why? He died for you and your sins.
Intentionally I’m drawing distinctions with two thirds of the Christian God, the Father and the Son. The Father is to be revered, respected. He is not to be befriended but feared. The Father is the One who set the universe in its endless expansion and knows the number of stars over your head. And speaking of your head, this Father knows the number of hairs on that noggin of yours.
In comparison, bone and flesh Jesus, the Son, who was wrapped in humanity while here on earth, gets your emotions. Hunger and even anger were his pangs, too. In Golgotha, He even questioned God’s will and His specific future. (And like Jesus, we’ve all questioned our direction, too.) So, yes, Jesus GETS us. He gets us so that we, in turn, can get Him. We can understand Him. We can relate to Him.
Back to God being our buddy-buddy. My concern is each of us, regardless of our religious location (or dislocation), can get a little too grand in our thinking of God as our peer, our wingman, our BFF. Let me be clear: I DO want you to be tight with God. More so, God wants you to be tight with Him. James 4:8 says this truth: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
I am not saying stop talking to God. Continue! I am not saying praying to God. Raise those prayers! I am not saying stop seeking God. By all means, press on! God does have your back because God wants your back—and your heart, and your attention, and your time, and your devotion. Keep living into this!
Just know who you are. In comparison, know who God is. The 38th chapter of Job helps us with our perspective by putting us in our place, which is powerless to the powerful.
In today’s culture, we drag our baggage into the word fear when we hear “fear the Lord.” We think fear is a bad thing, or an opposite-of-love thing. It can also feel like a power dynamic weird thing.
But it isn’t. It isn’t that at all. When you continue to seek and know God, and this is possible with Scripture and in worship with others, you are wonderfully shaken and perfectly aligned by His power and presence. Like Moses, you really do come to stand at times on holy ground because with profound reverence you GET that God is just that big, just that endless, just that magnanimous.
Gain wisdom. Fear God.
This blog first appeared in The Susquehanna Independent on June 13, 2018.