Thursday, May 31, 2018

Isaiah 8:13 -- On Fear Transplants

"Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread."
Isaiah 8:13

There are so many scriptures that talk about fearing the Lord or the fear of the Lord.  Usually I think the idea is one of healthy respect and awe... understanding who the Lord is, that he is God, and so far past our abilities and comprehension that we often need to take a step back and remember that although he is a personal God and he loves us, and wants to have a personal relationship with us, we aren't actually similar at all in terms of wisdom, understanding, ability, or power.  If there is a disconnect between what we want and what he wants, *we* are always wrong, and he is *always* right.  It isn't even close.

Although of course God loves us as we are, there isn't going to be any bending about his commandments or what he accepts.  He's not going to claim that sin isn't sin for us, or make any room for it in his kingdom.  It's inherently corrupt, and when we try to hold on to it, *we* have to bend, not him.

I like the implied idea in this particular verse that there is a replacement going on... that God should be our fear *instead* of our normal fears and dreads.  In that sense, I think it is a huge step up.  The burdens that God asks us to bear are much lighter than those of justice, and if we have God filling up our minds instead of other paralyzing sorts of fears, then we'll still be able to focus and learn.  Not that it is always easy, but it is overwhelmingly preferable, and the side benefits of improving our lives and the lives of the people around us are way better than panic.

I think the challenge for us in learning to replace our fears is really understanding the nature of God.  In Mosiah 26:3 there is a clear connection made between belief and understanding.  In order to understand how God and his plan works, we have to believe.  It can seem contradictory or frustrating to us, because we often want to understand first, and think that we can, but our unbelief gets in the way and we don't have the foundation to build on to understand how faith works.  We have to take that leap of faith and experiment upon his words as it says in Alma 32.  If we have faith, it can replace fear... and then we have that capacity to learn to fear God's judgement instead of the multitude of other things that we were worried about.

If we take advantage of this "fear transplant" idea or offer from the Lord, then when tragedies come in life and we are focused on the Lord, we don't have to fear what comes next.  We know that God will provide, and we can stay focused on doing his will.  In the end, the fear and dread of the Lord are only truly scary if we are persistently wicked, and our fear replacement helps us stay focused on working with God and consistently repenting and improving, so essentially we end up with nothing to fear but our own tendency to stray.

Today, whatever our fears or concerns are, let's work on turning to the Lord and allowing him to replace our fear and our dread with our commitment to him.  As we get to know him better, we will find that fearing the known laws and guidelines of our incredibly loving and merciful father are infinitely preferable to the fears, anxiety, and emptiness that they replace.  It says fear, but as always, God is offering us a way to sanity and peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews