The Fear of the Lord above love (Job 1:1)

       One issue we have in our American religion is that we hold the love of God higher than we hold our fear of Him. We look to God to hold us and love us. We sing songs of how we are in love with Him, yet rarely do we sing of his awe-fullness and superiority to us. We might sing of how he is superior to our problems, but we treat Him as a friend and lover in our conversation with Him. Yet we define our love in shallow terms. Three times is Job recounted as one who fears God and shuns evil. We would learn much to follow his example, especially when the trails come upon us. For I believe that many people leave the faith in the trying times because they expected God to be buddy-buddy. And when the chips are down, our “lover” seems silent, as in the book of Job. If He truly loved us, we reason, we would not find ourselves in bad situations and if we find ourselves in a bad spot, our faithful friend would not abandon us in our time of need.

       I submit to you that it is the very fear of Him that keeps us ever closer to Him. For we do not love, or rather, should not love Him based on the merits we receive but because He is God. Our love is tainted. We marry and yet take lightly the vows before heaven saying that through thick and thin we stay and work it out. How much more so do we abandon God when grief strikes? The book of Job asks the question, “Why do you worship God?” Satan believed it was because of what Job got out of it. Job’s three friends desire him to repent in order to be restored. Job’s relationship with God, though it grows through this challenge, it is not governed by his situation. He believes in His God, just as God believes in Him. Come good or evil, come gift or punishment, come glory or pain – his fear removes the fickleness of love. God is God to Job and may do as God desires. His devotion is not built on love and not destroyed by seeming betrayal. Do you love God? Do you love Him because of his gifts, or because He is God?

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