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Do you sometimes find yourself feeling embarrassed or uneasy when the idea of fearing God comes up in the Bible? Would you invite your friends and family to a special guest service at church if you knew that was going to be the message?
Fear is taboo in Western society. Fear supposedly curtails freedom; it crushes dreams; it inhibits people. It should be avoided altogether. But some kinds of fear are healthy — just as some kinds of fearlessness are foolish. There is bad fear and good fear. And, oddly enough, fearing something can mean we are no longer afraid of it. In this short book, David Mears takes us back to the Bible to look again at the fear of God — and more than that, to take delight in it and discover why the fear of the Lord really is “the beginning of wisdom”.
My answer to the opening question on the blurb was no. Prior to reading this book, the term “to fear the Lord” was something that I was aware of in theory, but hadn’t really considered it as something that I needed to worry about, and to be a “God–fearing” Christian was something only really spoken about in Little House on the Prairie. But then I started to read… David Mears really hit the nail on the head during the introduction, he writes “We don’t really ‘do’ fear these days” and it’s true, this kind of thinking causes people like me to skim over ‘fear’ when mentioned in the Bible. But actually, it’s a very important feeling to have… and the author breaks it down into why it is so important to fear: the majesty of God; the holiness of God; and the God who judges. ‘Fear’ has a stigma of weakness attached to it, but this shouldn’t be the case. We should be delighted to fear God, a rational good fear, a fear that drives us towards God, a fear that sees us delighting in the God of justice in the assurance that Jesus has enabled us to be able to one day stand in God’s presence with every guilt removed. The final chapter explains briefly, and bluntly, what practicing fear is like. I wish I could quote every line on here, but I’d really recommend reading it for yourself. One particular point was when the author reminds us that fear can also be a ‘life–saving, soul–saving, ‘scared’ fear. It is a gift of God to give resolve to the weak and sinful human heart.’ It’s this fear that drives us towards God, not away from Him. It’s short, easy to read (it took me a little over 30 minutes to finish) and is a gem that should be read. If you were like me and thinking ‘No, I don’t really think about fear much in the Bible’ – then I urge you to read this book.
Rooted in the mighty, awesome character of God, this book is powerful and punchy. Though it is short, its boldness and reverence provide plenty of food for thought in terms of what we preach, how we witness and how we spur one another on. Well worth a read.
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