Sunday, May 18, 2008

31in31 - May 18th - "Fear God"

Ecclesiastes 12:13

"13 Now all has been heard;

here is the conclusion of the matter:

Fear God and keep his commandments,

for this is the whole duty of man."

As I was reading this book, I came across this verse, which happens to be the second to last verse of the book. After looking up a few references, I checked the dictionary for the word "Fear" this is what I found:

1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
2. a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.
3. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone's safety.
4. reverential awe, esp. toward God.
5. that which causes a feeling of being afraid; that of which a person is afraid: Cancer is a common fear. –verb (used with object)
6. to regard with fear; be afraid of.
7. to have reverential awe of.
8. Archaic. to experience fear in (oneself). –verb (used without object)
9. to have fear; be afraid.

According to the Dictionary, Fear means Fear unless it means Awe. Here's the definition of Awe:

1. an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like: in awe of God; in awe of great political figures.
2. Archaic. power to inspire fear or reverence.
3. Obsolete. fear or dread.

A definition of "Fear of God" from a site

Many have the tendency of minimizing the fear of God for believers to “respecting” Him. While respect is definitely included in the concept of fearing God, there is more to it than that. A Biblical fear of God, for the believer, includes understanding how much God hates sin, and fearing His judgment on sin – even in the life of a believer. Hebrews 12:5-11 describes God’s discipline of the believer. While it is done in love (Hebrews 12:6), it is still a fearful thing. As children, the fear of discipline from our parents prevented, hopefully, some evil actions. The same should be true in our relationship with God. We should fear His discipline, and therefore, seek to live our lives in such a way that pleases Him.

What was Ecclesiastes about then? To me it says this: Without God, life has no meaning, With God, life has meaning, but we better live a life that pleases God, and live in fear of this discipline.

Live a life with no meaning, or live a life of fear. Pick one.



Anonymous said...

For a moment, let's just imagine we're all gathered before the throne of God for judgment, just as we've been taught will one day happen.

All is quiet, and God begins to speak. This is what He says.

"I sent my Son into the world to set things right. Somewhere along the way, my intention was misunderstood, and people began to believe that the pardon that my Son obtained was only for a select few.

I'm telling you now that eternal life is freely available to all. I did not create humanity only to see a large portion of them suffer eternal death. In short, people, you got it wrong.

The fact of the matter is, that on the merit of the life and death of my Son, eternal life is, and always has been, a free gift to all.

Come, the banquet is prepared."

What would you say? Would you talk back to God? Tell him what you thought the Bible says? Tell Him you don't think it's right? That He can't do that?

Suppose that even if it was originally his idea to cast some into hell, that He had a change of heart, and is now willing to pardon everyone.

Are you o.k. with that?

I suspect your reaction is something like, "that can't happen". Well, He is God, and He can do as He pleases. And that means, it can happen.

Maybe it will be instructive to ask ourselves,

What would I prefer?

Anonymous said...

In Hebrew, fear can be what is felt when in danger or what is felt when in the presence of an awesome sight or person of great authority. These feelings flow out of the person in such as actions as shaking when in fear or bowing down in awe of one in authority.

This is better explained in the amplified translation:

13 All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God's providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.

Most everyone would rather live in "fear of God" than live a life with no meaning. But Alex, the choice is yours.

Anonymous said...

Mr Anonymous, (The 2nd one, if not the same) Can you please tell me then that fear, as authored in this passage, has nothing to do with fear of discipline, or fear of eternal damnnation? Perhaps you can expand on that a little.

Steely Dan said...

This is basic exegesis, and though I am no expert, this kind of analysis is what an MDiv would do, but I expect the Hebrew word in the original has a more thorough meaning that the English word for fear. My suggestion would be to write Meg, and ask her to give a brief analysis of the Ecclesiastes word for fear from the original text.

What I do know is that Ecc. was written in Hebrew, not English. Downloading the English definition of fear, into the Hebrew meaning of the word is an unfair and incomplete analysis, one that has left you with a false choice. Frankly, I expect much more from you, Alex. Although I should add, it is an error committed time and time again where we import our own ideas and connotations about words or texts into the Bible and end up with false ideas and conceptions about the Bibles meaning.

GIGO, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Alex said...
Mr Anonymous, (The 2nd one, if not the same) Can you please tell me then that fear, as authored in this passage, has nothing to do with fear of discipline, or fear of eternal damnnation? Perhaps you can expand on that a little.


I have nothing else to gauge this on other than my own life. So I will say that yes, I do fear disipline. Infact I encourge it. I ask God to frusterate my ways when I step off the straight and narrow or repeat a sinful habit, but I do not fear eternal damnation because I know I am heaven bound. 110% sure of it. I am not perfect, very far from it, but I am saved from eternal damnation.

Alex said...

Thanks for the expansion, but can you give even more on "Frustrate your ways"?

Anonymous said...

On my own, I am bent in the way of sin and a sinful life so i ask God to frusterate my ways when I try to go it alone. So when he does, I learn it wont work my way and I need God. Satan is very deceiving, he'll make my ways seem liberating, free, fun, when infact, i'm on the road to destruction. I don't want to be deceived.