01/13/2024 Daily Devotion – The benefits of a proper fear of God

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’” — Exodus 20:18-20 (NIV84)

A pastor was leading a men’s retreat, and he asked the men to close their eyes and raise their hands if they struggled with internet pornography on a regular basis. Quite a number of men raised their hands in admission to living with this sin. The pastor then asked the men to raise their hands if they believed God was omnipresent (present everywhere), omnipotent (all powerful) and just. At that point 100% of the men raised their hands, affirming their belief in who God is. Shockingly, the pastor told the men who wrestled with pornography that they were lying to themselves. He told them that they may say they know that God is omnipresent, omnipotent and just, but they really don’t believe it. Because if they did, he said, they would know and believe that every time they were on their computer viewing pornography, a holy and just God was right by their side watching them.

Ouch!! That thinking could apply to a lot of aspects of our lives, couldn’t it!? In today’s verses the children of Israel heard the Lord speaking the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai. They were overwhelmed by experiencing God coming down in power, authority and glory right before their eyes. They requested that Moses have God stop speaking to them because of their fear and reverence. They were absolutely overwhelmed by who God is. Moses told them that their feelings of fear and reverence for God were good and healthy because this would keep them from sinning. You see, it isn’t our knowledge that keeps us from sinning — it is our faith, fear and love of God. This is why Luther stated that “We should fear and love God” before his explanation of each commandment. This is also why Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” A proper fear and reverence of God places us in the right state to face what life brings our way.

The question of the day: Do we really believe what we think we know? Does our life reflect it?


Pastor Tom


About the author: Tom Donnelly