Having read the bible for many years, I’ve noticed a few scary verses, SCARY I tell you! Like those words in RED, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” (Matthew 12:36) Wide-eyed and hands over mouth! And, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:17) OUCH! Or of ancient days, Exodus 35:2, “For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death.” (immediately dropping laundry basket). And for those of us in our teen years, “If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:9) It’s a GOOD thing I got water baptized as a late teen, I was raised to newness of life!*
But of recent, (seriously) I came across not so much a scary verse, but a wake-up verse: James 2:19 “You believe that God is one, you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder.” Here, James, Jesus’ brother, the younger brother who went from disbelief (Jn 7:5) to “James, servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ja. 1:1). James is speaking of faith and works, but oh the principle! “You believe … even the demons believe – and shudder.” This is the only time in scripture this particular word (shudder) is used, it means to tremble (with fear). We (the redeemed) are not to freak out in fear, thinking our God is going to step on us like an ant, but we are to have a FEARFUL-HOLY-REVERENCE! In context: demons do not have a redemptive plan, (you ARE going to get stepped on, so yes, FEAR!) Multiple times the scriptures tell us the demons knew Who Jesus was – there was extreme (crying out, falling at His feet, pleading) responses. The correct response. What is interesting, the opposite of the fear James mentions is …confidence, boldness. Here is where I was stopped immediately. (Head bowed).
I am fully persuaded in today’s culture; we are OVER confident! We reach and grab for what is considered owed us, we (the universal church) have embraced this and pulling the package into our perception of the Godly Kingdom. We are whitewashing the relationship between creation & Creator. We tend to exercise our boldness (inappropriately) and consider the God of the Universe our pal and approach His presence liken to a buddy: We go into His throne room, throw our stuff on the floor and fling ourselves across the celestial couch, with one leg hanging over the arm, while reaching forward, grabbing a fist full of food from the banquet table and popping it in our mouth and speak (with our mouth full), “Heh, how are ya?” To quote Paul, (yes, out of context – kinda) “May it never be!”
YES! A thousand yeses, our Holy God made provision for relationship. His smile is mercy filled. His grace the welcome mat and we CAN come boldly to His throne.
Father forgive us, forgive me! May we, (I) never become so confident that I miss the mark of trembling before You – reverently before You, taking pause before I open Your word! May my only boldness take me to Your feet! I echo a dear friends’ words, “May I never allow that kind of casual brashness (as the world) to enter into my relationship with the Holy One of Israel, the Creator of the Universe, who formed me from the dust.”
“All these things My hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word. ” – Isaiah 66:2
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
*Please note, YES, context is everything, and Jesus brings forgiveness and New Covenant terms, the above verses were stated for emphasis.