Is There Fear In Love?
“The Lord has said to me in the strongest terms: ‘Do not think like everyone else does. Do not be afraid that some plan conceived behind closed doors will be the end of you. Do not fear anything except the Lord Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. If you fear him, you need fear nothing else. He will keep you safe’….” (Isaiah 8:11-14)
“Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” (Proverbs 1:7) “Fear of the Lord lengthens one’s life.” (Proverbs 10:27)
We live in a time where our thoughts are often driven by what the world thinks. Our thoughts are in line with those around us. Like a wave hitting the sea shore, we join it’s path but then in the end we coming crashing down into the rocks or on the beach. There we suffocate as we cannot live out of the water on which we depend. If you were a fish, would you willing leave everything that promises life?
Or perhaps you disagree? Maybe everything you do goes against the world. You fight everyone, you chose your own path, you know exactly what you are doing? Yet, even fish know there are some paths you should not take, places you should not go. How do you know that your way is right? If we are honest, in the end, following our own direction and relying on our own strength never got us far either.
All this time, there is a path marked out for us. We are just too blind to see it. Isaiah spoke of both destruction on one hand and the hope of the Messiah on the other. In his time, peoples thoughts were on the wrong path. So for anyone living in that time, they needed to be shown what was wrong, and how to correct it. Are we not the same today? Even we as ‘Christians’ neglect the right path today, many of us following the two trains of thought above. For we consider one and not the other.
The Lord’s words to Isaiah mark out clearly where we should walk. ‘Do not think like everyone else does.’ Yes, we should not follow the world. We should not live a life of compromise, following any whim or fashion that comes along. So, what should we follow? Or rather, it is whom we should be following. ‘Do not fear anything except the Lord Almighty.’ We could never think differently to the world without ending up in the other extreme. That is, unless we had a source of life that leads through both. A guide to show us, that if we no longer ‘think like everyone else’, then which is the right road to follow and not the one we think is right.
Why would we go wrong in this? Surely we don’t fit into any one of these extremes? The problem lies in this one fact. We do not truly ‘fear’ the Lord Almighty. We do grasp that ‘He alone is the Holy One’. Without this, either we continue to follow the world and think like it does or we try to continue in our own strength, feeling that the way we think and do things is right, must be right.
No! you say, we should love the Lord Almighty not fear Him. Yet again you go to one extreme and neglect the other. I can’t explain this, and I know it is not for me to fathom the depths of God. Isaiah shows that God allows us to live through both. We both love and fear the Lord. We fear Him because He alone is Holy, Magnificent and Mighty and we love Him because He is our Father, our Saviour and our continued Hope. Do not warp the meaning of fear according to the world.
God saw this, that people no longer feared the Lord. Perhaps many will think this too bold a statement. You cannot begin to love the Lord without first seeing Him, without seeing that ‘He alone is the Holy One’. Hence, you cannot love the Lord unless you do not fear anything ‘except the Lord
Almighty.’ Before anyone gets frightened away it is important to note, that the title before this verse is, ‘A Call to Trust the Lord.’ Stop and think on this as well. God called Isaiah to fear Him, and to fear nothing else. If we see the Lord as He truly is, if we just see Him! then can we begin to trust Him. It is not about questioning or understanding, but accepting that the Lord Almighty in His Holiness is to be feared. Heed the words spoken in the Proverbs, ‘Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.’