Exodus 20:20 NKJV And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you,
so that you may not sin.”
“Don’t fear… that His fear may before you…” What does that mean? How can one Fear Not and fear at the same time?
It is important to realize that there in Scripture there are two basic types of fear referred to. There is an anxious, dreadful fear, and there is a reverential or filial type of fear. In this particular verse we see them both being used.
The Children of Israel have been delivered from their slavery to the Egyptians through many signs and wonders, have crossed the Red Sea through
divine intervention, and have audibly heard the voice of God speaking the 10 commandments from a fire that has descended upon Mt. Sinai causing a dark smoke upon it, the ground to quake, and loud trumpet blasts coming from the sky. This would surely be an overwhelming experience to say the least. Moses was calming the terror among the people, telling them don’t fear God. He is not here to enslave you or put you into bondage like you were under in Egypt. Moses went on explaining that God spoke those words and appeared in this way so that we would realize just how awesome He is and that we might willingly allow Him to be our King. Let’s look at how a couple of other versions translate that verse.
Exodus 20:20 GW Moses answered the people, “Don’t be afraid! God has come only to test you, so that you will be in awe of him and won’t sin.”
Exodus 20:20 MSG Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. God has come to test you and instill a deep and reverent awe within you so that you won’t sin.”
When I was a little boy growing up, I was afraid of God. I heard of all His power and His commandments and of His great victories over those like Pharaoh that tried to oppose Him. One time I remember finding some cigarettes and sneaking into the woods with a friend to try them and then
realizing what I was doing, I looked up to the sky in fear to see if a horrible judgment was going to fall on me. Now that I have come to know God as Father through a relationship with the Lord Jesus, everything is so different. No longer do I fear the wrath of God, but instead have a filial respect toward my loving Father. I have personally experienced His grace and His mercy. I have witnessed His mighty power to deliver and heal. He is good and indeed full of enduring mercy. It is this “fear” of God that leads me to Fear Not.
One way to eliminate fear in your life is to improve your understanding of and relationship with the loving Father God and the Lord Jesus Christ. As you know Him more faith and trust in Him will build and fear of all things will diminish. God loves you, so Fear Not!