IT IS THE LORD OF HOSTS WHOM YOU SHOULD REGARD AS HOLY. AND HE SHALL BE YOUR FEAR, AND HE SHALL BE YOUR DREAD.
A severe storm hit the East Coast, and the Coast Guard was summoned to respond to a ship in crisis. A young sailor, new on board, was terrorized by the prospect and proclaimed, “We can’t go out. We’ll never come back!” The seasoned captain responded, “We must go out. We don’t have to come back.” Duty called and responsibility overcame fear.
If we’re going to walk by faith, there can be only one fear-object in our lives, and that’s God. We are responsible to Him. He is the ultimate fear-object because He is omnipotent and omnipresent. The fear of the Lord is healthy because it is the one fear that expels all other fears (Isaiah 8:11-14). All other fear-objects pale in comparison to our holy God. We need to be like David who proclaimed before Goliath, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26). The Hebrew army saw Goliath in relation to themselves and cowered in defeat. David saw Goliath in relation to God and conquered in His strength.
When the 12 spies checked out the Promised Land, 10 of them came back and responded, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us” (Numbers 13:31). They didn’t see God in the land; they saw giants (verse 33). With that perspective, “all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night” (Numbers 14:1).
Joshua and Caleb responded, “Do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they shall be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them” (Numbers 14:9). The people did rebel. They accepted the majority report instead of listening to Caleb and Joshua. By accepting the Canaanites’ will over God’s will, they elevated the power and eminence of the Canaanites over the omnipotence and omnipresence of God. To honor God as the ultimate fear-object is to worship Him. To be controlled by any other fear-object is to allow it to usurp God’s place in our lives.