Why do we no longer fear God like the people in the Old Testament?
The people of Israel often made decisions and acted out of fear of the Almighty God, and rightly so! Over the years, they bore witness to whole nations being wiped out as a result of sin. God sent plagues to punish people for their wrong doing and He even turned wives into pillars of salt (find the story in Genesis 18 and 19, it's a fascinating one!) God never missed a sin. Their actions always had catastrophic consequences. If this was going on today, wouldn't you be fearful of Him?! God tried everything, but this still wasn't enough.
And then along came grace. Grace in the form of His son, Jesus Christ - God's new rescue plan. Grace is a gift, an opportunity for us to experience forgiveness and acceptance. Instead of receiving a punishment for our wrong doing, we find freedom - a gift lavished on us out of love. As with most free gifts, we are bowled over by the offer and try to reject it at the start, it's just too much to accept. Eventually though, we take Him up on His gift and with a grateful heart, we bask in the freedom of forgiveness.
Just like a spoilt child who is regularly showered with gifts, we can easily become complacent to the generosity of God. Over the days and years, grace slowly becomes something which we take for granted and if not careful, this can lead us into a situation where God's gift becomes a licence for us to do as we please. We might not say it but deep down we know that God will forgive us no matter what we do: losing our temper, telling a white lie, judging others, adultery, deceit, fraud. A quick prayer and God will forgive us - isn't that what the bible says? The minute we lose site of grace, complacency creeps in, along with our old friend, pride. 'There but for the grace of God go I' - important words to remember. And that's probably a topic for a separate blog post!
I have come to realise that actually a modern relationship with God shouldn't be born our of fear, like the people of Israel, or many other reglions today. It should be born out of thankfulness and a revelation of the grace that He has lavished on us by sending His son.
We should be thanking God daily for the freedom that we live in because of His gift of grace. We should seek to fully understand the significance of the cross - that by sending His son to die, we no longer need to live under the crippling fear that gripped the Israelites. Pretty amazing, isn't it?
This weekend I went to a women's breakfast at our church and we sang this song written by Hillsong. Here are the words from the chorus, they really resonated with me:
And I find myself here on my knees again
Caught up in grace like an avalanche
Nothing compares to this love, love, love
Burning in my heart