today. during youth, we continued on reading the book of samuel. this is just as beneficial for me because the last time i read this book was years and years ago, and it’s true, with age, comes greater understanding.
today we discussed how the israelites complained to samuel about wanting an earthly king, comparable to the other kingdoms, without consideration on what type of king could rule over them. they had abandoned their absolute worship to God, seeking idols and comparing themselves to other nations, without fear of their consequences.
for those who are familiar w/ old testament history, after their complaining and God’s warning, saul was appointed king, who eventually turned out to be a merciless ruler.
after we went over the lesson, we talked about seeking worldly substitutions for God in our lives, and how these sins catalyze the separation between us and God. one of the youth asked if fear was necessary in our relationship w/ God. this was actually a coincidental question for me because amongst the paucity of memories i have of my childhood, i remember one instance when i involved myself in a theological debate w/ a fellow 4th grader, whether or not it was correct to have fear in God. i remember adamantly stating my case that we ought to fear God because in the Bible it says to "fear God and keep His commandments."
as you get older, questions like that could only be answered correctly if you ask that 4th grader what his/her definition of "fear" is. if it means to be frightened of God, i would say, although He has the power to give you freakishly three eyes or strike you dead on the spot, it’s not necessary to be afraid of him and tremble in fright as if his role is solely the judge and executioner.
let’s go to scripture:
- Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
- For our God is a consuming fire. (KJV)
in many ways, we strictly define God (the way we define God’s love either love absolute, without judgment, or judgment absolute, without love). this is the same about "fearing" God. we forget that God is not solely the judge and executioner, but the pardoner and advocate. His grace is not without judgment and vice versa. We cannot say that fear is solely just an acknowledgement or solely trepidation. But there is a "holy fear," the position in which we must have the humility to feel anxiety over God’s judgment on our sins and the reverence to surrender to Him.
a very insightful young girl of 13 years was brought to the question "is it bad not to fear God," to which she answered, "if you don’t fear God, you won’t really know him."
it seems like a real stretch to see the relation, but there it is! in a simple thought, ok…but yes!
when i had given my answer to the youth earlier in the lesson before we asked this young girl the question, i gave them the perspective that the biggest fear we should really try to understand when we continue in sin, is not necessarily the third eye, getting pregnant, contracting an STD, or boils, but it is the separation we make between ourselves and God. Like Adam and Eve, besides the obvious consequences of toiling the earth and experiencing painful childbirth, the saddest and most tragic consequence was the separation between God and man. that is still resonant today with our relationship w/ God. we have to continue to realize that the pain and emptiness of our constant separation from God is the worst consequence because we are not complete. we were made to worship our God, and when we are not in that tantamount position, there is a gut wrenching feeling of emptiness. and when we separate ourselves from God’s company, we cannot know God- "we won’t really know Him," and that folks is the real greatest tragedy!
stated the book of proverbs,
10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
even within Christians, the sins we continue to hold on to causes a rift in our relationship w/ God. sometimes you hear people, or hear yourself saying, "i feel very dry in my spiritual life," or "i feel so far away from God." these are gauge sentences that should lead us to examine our worship and our idols, our sins. but the greatest assurance as Christians is that God is always a God of grace. whatever season we choose to be absent in our worship, we can always surrender to God’s will and and be accepted in love.
so to conclude, as separation is the worst consequence, being united w/ God and knowing Him is the best position. knowing God brings the greatest contentment.
we ended the youth lesson w/ some testimonies and unexpectedly, one of our youth men shared something very personal which brought everyone to a level of empathy. it made me very blessed to know that he had a very personal lesson w/ surrendering to God, when initially, he didn’t know how he could let God handle something so distressful. but out of the experience, he can now really testify how better it is to surrender everything to Him. it made me really happy to know that he’ll always know this about God from that experience…how it made him closer to God.
i was really blessed today w/ the youth group and the lesson.