“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.” (Exodus 20:20)
In response to the panic that stuck many of the people assembled at the foot of the mountain, Moses tried to reassure the people that God was not there to destroy them; He was there to prove them. The awesome demonstration of God’s might and majesty served, in part, to probe their hearts and reveal what was buried within. At first glance, it seemed as if they were motivated to obey Him but, as it was later revealed, that was not the case which is why He told Moses, “Oh that they had a heart to obey me.”
It would seem that it is one thing to fear that God can destroy you and, perhaps, another thing entirely to fear God in a way that provokes you to obey Him. It seems to me that this was what Moses was trying to convey to them. The proper fear of God will motivate us to do as He has asked us — not because we are convinced He will destroy us if we don’t but because we know that He has prescribed the right way that leads to life. Thus the fear of offending God provokes us to abstain from the desires of the flesh and compels us to do His will. If that kind of fear is not instilled in us, there is nothing to keep us from following our own way and so it is important to hide His Word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him.
Scripture says that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments (Psalm 111:10). However, wisdom from above cannot be attained without the appropriate fear and respect of our Creator. Consider then that the fear of God acts as the seed that brings about the fruition of wisdom, which is to “love the LORD with all of your heart.” Therefore, let us serve serve God with reverence and godly fear and live in a way that pleases Him. May it always be that the passion of our heart is to obey Him and demonstrate our love for Him.
Blessings and Shalom,