Thursday, June 26, 2008

Scared, or fearful?

Have a look at the above animals. If you had to choose one of them to walk up to and smack on the head as hard as you could; which would you choose?

A) The Tiger
B) The Shark
C) The Lion

Thought about it? The correct answer is in fact, D) None of the above. Why? Because no one in their right mind would willingly go up to any of those creatures and conk them on the noggin. If someone were to do that to either A, B or C above, chances are, that particular individual would no longer be with us, that is to say, they’d be dead. So it is safe to assume that virtually no one (there’s always some unpredictable idiot) would be up to the challenge of treating any of these predators with anything less than the utmost respect they deserve. Why? Because they’re fierce, strong, powerful wild animals; quite capable of tearing any one of us limb from limb… so that’s why they have our respect and our fear.

But now here’s the question:
If we would be that fearful and respectful to a shark or a lion or a tiger… why are we not more fearful of Almighty God?

As scary as these creatures above are, they’re just animals; they’re not the very One who spoke Reality into existence. A shark can end your life if it decided to chew you up and spit you out… but that’s about all it could do. The Bible tells us: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”. (Matthew 10:28) Hint: that would be God.

So why is that? Why are we not more fearful of God? Notice I’m not saying “scared”, but rather “fearful”. If we are scared or afraid of God, it is because we have something to hide and don’t want to come near Him because of WHAT He can do to us (like what we would be of the fierce creatures above). That’s not what God wants, He doesn’t want us to be scared of Him, but to fear Him for WHO He is. As Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge”. To fear God is to esteem Him, to honour Him, to hold Him in the highest regard, to venerate, stand in awe and revere Him, to tremble with the greatest respect toward Him, His presence, His commands and His wishes. That is what it means to “fear the Lord.”

To treat Him in any other way is to invite judgement upon ourselves. The Old Testament has the account of two of Aaron's (the High Priest) sons being consumed with fire by the Lord because of the fact that they approached His presence in an unacceptable manner; being irreverent and treating Him as common, instead of as holy. (Leviticus 10). Hear what Moses said to his brother after his nephews – Aaron’s sons – were judged by God:

Moses then said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke of when he said:
" 'Among those who approach me
I will show myself holy;
in the sight of all the people
I will be honored.'" (Leviticus 10:3)

That’s all fine and well for Old Testament times, you may argue. What about more modern, New Testament times? Well, lets look at what Paul tells us in Phillippians 2:12, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”, or how about, “Worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29). Or how about, “For it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” (1 Peter 16-17)

This “fear of the Lord” can be taken even further. All sin can be said to originate in a lack of fear of God. People believe they won’t be judged or punished, they believe God cannot see or know what they’re doing, they put Him on the same level as a man; but God is not a man, He see and knows all things… and a heart that has no fear of God, has no place in it for His plan of salvation… because what’s the point? I’m not going to be judged, God is a god of love.

Take heed Reader, Hebrews tells us, "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27), we will indeed be judged by God upon our deaths. But what about that most famous verse of God’s love, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world..." Ah! Let us look further at the verses that follow, and we will see a different part to God that we’d rather not think about:

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:17-19)

What does God Himself have to say on the matter, on those who fear Him:

"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." (Proverbs 2:1-5)

If we have a fear for God, we will realize that we need his gift of forgiveness and salvation - offered through Jesus Christ via the cross - because without it, we will be judged, and that judgement rules that we cannot be near to God. Not only through the correct and proper attitude of reverence for God are we led to our need for salvation, but also to a more intimate relationship with Him. And surely that's what every true Christian should want. Why settle for anything less?

"Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!" (Deuteronomy 5:29)

Milestone : 100 Soulfire Posts

Hey... Just noticed that with the last post I updated, the total number of posts on this blog became 100.
That's gotta be something, right?
Must celebrate somehow... hmmm, an early morning cup of coffee with TWO sugars...?


Congrats to Soulfire : The Blog on this momentous occasion, and praise the Lord for being my strength and my light each and everyday. If there's praise due - give it to Him.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Underøath : Live in SA

Not a dream! Underøath are coming to South Africa... When I found this out the other day I was ecstatic, and this was compounded further when I visited their official site yesterday (to confirm 100% that they really were gonna be here) and saw this on their News section:

Hello everyone!!!! I hope all is well. I have some super exciting news....the record is done!!!!!! Completely done! I got the master in the mail yesterday and it sounds wonderful. I'm super excited for you all to hear it. We worked super hard on it and I hope that you all like it as much as I hope you will. (Tim, 8 June 2008)

So, not only are they coming to Durban, but there's a new album on the way! And my birthday was in April!!!

I'm not sure about all the other bands that are going to be playing that day, but they're all local SA bands and hopefully should put on a good act with some rocking tunes. Either way: if you're a fan of Underøath living in South Africa... make sure you get your tickets now and rock up on whichever day you can. Durban's date is September 24 which is a public holiday. So no excuses, Durbs!