WHY DOES THE BIBLE TELL US TO FEAR GOD?
Bible Reading of the Day: Read 1 Samuel 12:1, 14-18.
Verse of the Day: “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you” (1 Samuel 12:24, NIV).
“Dad, I don’t understand something,” Trevor said as he helped his dad unload suitcases from the car. They had just arrived at Trevor’s cousins’ house for a weekend visit. “Why does the Bible tell us to fear God? I mean, God loves us, right?”
Dad nodded as he and Trevor passed Trevor’s little brother, Kyle. Kyle stood nose-to-nose with B. J., his cousins’ St. Bernard. “Don’t worry, Kyle,” Dad said, as Kyle faced the hairy beast with wide eyes, “he’s gentle. He won’t hurt you. Go ahead, pet him.”
Kyle tentatively stroked the big dog’s fur. By the time Dad and Trevor had reached the porch with the suitcases, Kyle had wrapped his arms around B. J.’s neck.
Dad turned as he and Trevor set down the suitcases inside the house. “I haven’t forgotten your question, Trev,” he said. “We’re supposed to fear God like the Bible says. Some people don’t fear God at all. They think he’s like a senile old grandfather who will let them get away with whatever they want. Other people forget that God loves them. They fear him as if he were a mean old dictator.”
Suddenly, Trevor and Dad heard a cry outside. They ran for the door and saw Kyle pressed against the car door, crying. Uncle Dave held B. J.’s collar.
“What happened?” Dad asked.
“Everything’s OK,” Uncle Dave explained. “Kyle was petting B. J. when he started running toward the car.” Dave shrugged. “B. J. is a loving dog, but he doesn’t like it when people run away from him. So B. J. trotted after Kyle and growled at him. Of course, that scared Kyle—didn’t it, little buddy?” Kyle nodded.
Dad knelt on the pavement beside Kyle. “B. J. didn’t want to hurt you, Son; he wants to be your friend. He’ll probably even lick your face if you let him.”
Kyle smiled shyly. “He already did,” he said.
Dad winked. “Just be careful not to run away from him, OK?”
Moments later, Kyle was playing with B. J. again. Dad and Trevor returned to their task of unpacking the car.
“Now,” Dad said, “you were saying you don’t understand what it means to fear God.”
“I think I do now, Dad.” Trevor watched B. J. lavishing love on little Kyle. “I think I do.”
TO DISCUSS: What do you think helped Trevor understand what it means to fear God? How do you think the fear of God is like Kyle’s “fear” of B. 3.? Do you think God wants us to fear him so we won’t “run away” from him? Do you think we can love God and fear him too? If not, why not? If so, how?
TO PRAY: “Awesome God, we respect you and want to serve you faithfully.”