We don’t need to be afraid of God. We do need to fear God, but we don’t need to be afraid of God. Proverbs 1:7 says, “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge.” The fear we are supposed to have is a reverence, a respect, an acknowledgement of the holiness and greatness of God. Whenever a people in the Bible encountered God in His glory in the Bible, they fell to the ground, they covered their eyes. They were moved to say with Isaiah, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5, ESV).
In C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the main characters Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are told they are going to be brought to see the King of Narnia, the Son of the Great Emperor across the Sea. And they are told he is a lion. Susan, ever the example of the practical young woman asks, “Is he safe?” I love the reply she is given, “Safe! Who said anything about safe! Of course he isn’t safe, but he’s good.” God isn’t safe. We need to fear Him. We would be stupid not to. But God is also good. He is love. He is Your Father.
A gentleman who thought Christianity was merely a heap of puzzling problems, said to an old minister, “That is a very strange statement, ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.’ “Very strange,” replied the minister; “but what is it that you see most strange about it?”
“Oh, that part, of course, about hating Esau.”
“Well, sir,” said the minister, “how wonderfully are we made and how differently constituted! The strangest part of all to me is that He could ever have loved Jacob. There is no mystery so glorious as the mystery of God’s love.”
We don’t need to worry about earning or keeping His approval. We are loved by God because of who we are in Christ, not because of anything we have done. We are His sons. We are His daughters. And because of that we don’t need to be afraid of Him.