“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.”” – Exodus 20:20 (NASB)
Like the promise of ‘hope’ that does not disappoint, we are more used to a ‘hope’ that lets us down. Our hope more of a wish than a sure hope in God’s promises. There is a fear that we know and think of it as a terrible and unwanted emotion. The people of Israel, at the base of Mount Sinai are receiving the Law of God, specifically the Ten Commandments. Having seen the thunder and lightning and the sounds of the trumpet and fire from the mountain top, they are deathly afraid of God and fear He is going to kill them. Moses instructs them to not respond to the phenomena with fear, they were also told to have proper fear, it’s healthy, it’s being in awe and reverence of God. Such fear deterrers sin. God’s intention is that his power and holiness stimulate fear in us, not to drive us from Him, but to drive us to Him. Fearing God means, first, fearing to abandon him as our great security and satisfaction. Romans 11:20 instructs us to stand strong through faith so that we will avoid pride and fear falling to unbelief instead.