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The fear of God

February 10, 2018

 

Before we jump into today’s chapters in the book of Numbers, which were all about taking a head count of the tribes of Israel, I have to address the jarring mood shift in chapter 26 of Leviticus. First, I was feeling warm and fuzzy inside reading the first 13 verses...

 

“If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them,

then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit...

And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.

I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land,

and the sword shall not go through your land.

You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword...

I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you

and will confirm my covenant with you...

I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you.

And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke

and made you walk erect.”

 

My immediate reaction was to say out loud, “Now, this is Love!” It was like God telling His children: “I’ll take care of you. I’ll buy you a house...outright! I’ll fill up your refrigerator and pantry with good food to eat every week. I’ll fight your battles, and you’ll win no matter how outmatched you might be. You’ll have peace instead of fear, so that you can sleep well at night.

 

“And when you wake up in the morning, I’ll be there to greet you because we are family. You’ll have children of your own whom I will bless with my presence, as well. All you have to do is keep my commandments. That’s it! And I will love you forever.”

 

Then THIS happened…

 

“But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments...

I will visit you with panic, with wasting disease and fever that consume the eyes and make the heart ache...I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down before your enemies. Those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when none pursues you...

I will let loose the wild beasts against you...

And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall execute vengeance for the covenant. And...I will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy...

You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. And I will...cast your dead bodies upon the dead bodies

of your idols, and my soul will abhor you…

And you shall perish among the nations,

and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.”

 

 

Whoa! This must be what it means when people talk about “the fear of God.” It was devastating to read, and I was completely floored. I think this was the most jaw-dropping passage I've read so far. And, I'm still not over it.

 

But, I’m sure God had His reasons for instilling such fear into the Israelites. Unfortunately, even fear to this degree couldn’t keep them in line, as we’ll read later. Perhaps that’s why He sent Jesus to earth, the embodiment of His love.

 

Jesus’ love healed people. His love accepted people who were unclean. His love took care of the poor. His love embraced the meek and humble. Why anyone would be offended by His name, I do not know. What He stood up for is the best of us all. And, what He stood up against was for the benefit of us all.

 

Still, it is difficult for me to reconcile this scary side of God with the loving side I've come to know over the years. I’ll have to pray about this, for sure. If you have some level of understanding about this passage that you'd like to share, feel free to leave your comments below, or on my Facebook page.

 

By the way, it's…

 

Day 40 - Numbers chapters 1-4 and Psalms 40

 

*Welcome to my one-year trip around the world of Scripture. You’re invited to take this journey with me, as I meditate on God’s Word day and night. Each morning, you’ll find a post on my Facebook page encouraging my new #Biblebuddies along the way. And each night, I’ll be writing my impressions right here at listen2leslie.com. I’d love it if you’d share your comments, to spark some fruitful discussion. The only passport you’ll need for this journey is the Read Scripture app which provides us with our daily itinerary. You’ll love this app because it contains videos by The Bible Project that serve as our tour guide. Traveling is so much better when you have someone to share the experience with, so please join me, will you?

 

(In case you were wondering, this blog is a labor of love for me.❤️ The links contained in my posts are NOT affiliate links. I include them in order to share with you the actual pages and apps I use during the course of my own personal journey. Money muddies the waters, and I like my water clear. Amen? 😉)

 

 

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