God laments, “Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!”
How do the Israelites lose the fear of the Lord? They feared for their lives, so they feared God. But once some other threat seemed more real, that’s what they feared instead. They feared God when they were close to Him, felt the fire, heard His voice.
When instead their eyes were on an enemy army, they were no longer looking at God. The enemy seemed more real and more a threat. Of course, God’s not a threat to His children! The verse I opened with from Deuteronomy 5 shows God’s heart to bless His children. He wants it to go well for them.
His lament is over the bad choices His children will make. They weren’t His choices for them.
He showed Himself to them. He told them of all the good He wanted to do for them if they would just make the right choices that showed love to Him and to each other.
God has a loving Father’s heart, but His words come with a warning to not turn to the right or to the left. That’s what we call walking the straight and narrow; do not turn to the right or to the left. Walk in God’s truth, in obedience to His Word.
I mentioned in the previous lesson how the fear of the Lord brings us to the cross of Christ. Jesus is the gate. We have to come through the gate of the cross to get to the Father.
While you don’t want to get stuck in fear and need to receive God’s love, you also can’t skip over the fear.
We can’t come to the Father by just knowing He’s a good, loving Dad who’s going to take care of us and bless us. That skips death at the cross, and in the end, it will be death to you.
Just like those who only fear and miss out on God’s love turn their eyes to fear another enemy when it approaches, if you come to God just through the good He can do for you, once things aren’t so good, you will look for someone or something else to meet that need or desire.
There’s only one way to the Father and to eternal life, and it begins with the fear of the Lord, comes through the cross of Christ, recognizing His holiness and wonder, and then receiving forgiveness and His free gift of perfect love by the Holy Spirit.