Be afraid of God?

2 Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised. 

3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” 

4 Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD. – Obadiah 1:2-4

This is part of the Lord’s message for the country of Edom, who was guilty of doing heinous wrong to Israel, and moreover, they were proud.  But God would vindicate His people.  He would bring Edom small among the nations, make them insignificant.  

The Edomites felt secure in their own situation; they were comfortable and lofty.  But from their, the Lord would bring them down. 

Reading over these verses reminds us of the fearsome justice of God.  He punishes sin as a righteous Judge, not only here on earth, but ultimately for all eternity.  Who can withstand His judgment?  Should we all not be struck by fear?

For Christians, this fear of God is different.  All who trust in Jesus as Savior have been declared “not guilty”, by virtue of Jesus’s righteousness transferred to them.  So, they needn’t fear eternal judgment.  However, the Christian would do well to fear God’s discipline, as a wise child fears his parents’ discipline.  If we would be aloof in our sins, from there, God will bring us down. 

For unbelievers, this fear should be a thousand-fold, for they have not Jesus to mediate on their behalf.  They continue to be under the wrath of God, and if they do not turn to Jesus for salvation, they will not only experience judgment here on earth, but they will be under the judgment of eternal fire for all eternity.  But there is free grace for all those who trust in Jesus. 

So, believers, fear God and obey Him, in light of what Christ has done for you.  And unbelievers, escape the wrath of God by believing and trusting Jesus. 

Lord, work this out in us, we ask. 


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