God is love. This statement is true, the problem is that sometimes we, as Christians, forget that while our God is a God of love, he is also our Righteous Judge. This judge deserves our fear and reverence, the type of things that make us squirm in our seats a bit more. We’d rather focus on the happy moments, but the Bible reminds us that there are consequences when we don’t give God the fear he deserves. Psalm 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” ( NIV). We read of such fools in today’s reading. Numbers 16 records the escapades of the rebellious Israelites, who were punished because of their lack of fear for the Lord. They “treated the Lord with contempt” (Numbers 16:30) instead of with the fear he deserved. They tried to take matters into their own hands and rebel against God’s chosen leaders. Because of this they paid the ultimate price. Some of the men were swallowed up in a pit, others were consumed by fire, and still more were killed by a plague. It’s not a happy picture.
I myself want to daily live a life that puts God first and foremost. I want to fear him with every breath I take, giving him the respect that is due him. What about you? What does fearing the Lord mean to you?