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Be Afraid — to the Glory of God
Proverbs 1:7
April 19, 2020

When we are afraid, we are tempted to do things we would otherwise consider irrational.  Consider these three folks who have a fear of bugs and spiders:

  • A man was filling up his car at a gas station when he noticed a spider by the car’s gas cap and decided the best way to get rid of it would be to burn it with his cigarette lighter.   The flame caught the vapors coming from the car and then spread up the nozzle he was holding in his hand.  After that foolish act, he did have sense to grab a fire extinguisher and put out the fire while the gas station attendant turned off the gas, preventing an even bigger problem.
  • Then there was Scott Kemery, who rented a car in Long Island, NY a few years ago and discovered it had bed bugs in it. He had been told that pouring rubbing alcohol on them would kill them.  So that’s what he did.  And then he got in the car and lit a cigarette.    He set his car, himself, and two other cars on fire, and was treated for second degree burns.
  • Topping even that was the Seattle man five years ago who spotted an 8-legged spider in his laundry room and attacked it with spray paint and a lighter.   The expected happened.  He ignited his house, causing $40,000 in damage to the structure plus the cost of $20,000 to replace and repair the damaged contents of the house.  Moral?  Don’t use fire to kill bugs.  As one news commentator sarcastically noted about this event, “Nobody can confirm if the spider survived or not. So basically, this spider could have gotten out alive and then watched the house burn from the safety of a nearby tree…laughing maniacally.”

Fear makes us do irrational and unwise things.  While fear might keep us from dangers like stepping off or even getting on ledges on tall buildings, too often, fear does not work to our benefit.  We see that today, don’t we?  The pandemic of Covid-19 might also be called “the pandemic of fear.”  Never have so many fears been exposed, along with a variety of irrational and ungodly behaviors.  So the biblical admonition, “Do not fear,” which is given some 160x in Scripture should be heeded.

But there is a good and godly kind of fear.  There is a time to be fearful.  There is a good kind of fear to cultivate.  We should be fearful of God.  Listen to Proverbs 1:7.  Let’s summarize that verse this way:

All men are tempted to fear.  The wise man pursues fear of Yahweh.

Solomon reminds us of two principles about fear in this verse:

  1. The Kind of Fear that Pleases God (v. 7a)
  2. The Kind of Fear that Dishonors God (v. 7b)
  3. Some Ways to Cultivate a Fear of God

Download the rest of this sermon on Proverbs 1:7.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.