325 – Psalm 18 – Fear
What happens in the human mind that causes us to minimize the intensity of specific passages of scripture? We can go through our “read-the-Bible-in-a-year” plans and hardly acknowledge passages where Yahweh God is fuming mad. You may even be resistant to the idea that God is ever “fuming mad”, to which I would simply respond, “Read your Bible and discover for yourself”. We often treat the Psalms as “comfort food” for our souls when we are down in the dumps, but what about the difficult passages like Psalm 18?
Psalm 18:6-8 (LEB)
6 In my trouble I called on Yahweh,
and to my God I cried for help.
He heard my voice from his temple,
and my cry for help
came up before his presence into his ears.
7 Then the earth shook and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains trembled,
and they staggered because he was angry.
8 Smoke went forth from his nose,
and fire from his mouth consumed.
Burning coals blazed from him.
I think it’s too easy to explain away verse like Psalm 18:7. We might say something like, “The Psalmist is exaggerating to make a point”, or “Oh, that’s the Old Testament! We are living in the New Testament era. God is a loving God, He doesn’t act like that anymore”. Yahweh’s creation however responds physically to His anger. The earth shakes and quakes, and the foundations of the mountains tremble!
I’m not going to go verse by verse through this Psalm, but I hope you will take the time to read it for yourself. If you do, I hope you’ll spend some time pondering verses like Psalm 18:13.
Psalm 18:13 (LEB)
13 And Yahweh thundered from the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice
with hail and coals of fire.
As you work your way through Psalm 18 notice the strong contrast between Yahweh’s vengeful anger and His loving kindness as proclaimed in verses like 46-48.
Psalm 18:46-48 (LEB)
46 Yahweh lives, and blessed be my rock,
and may the God of my salvation be exalted—
47 the God who executed vengeance for me,
and subdued peoples under me,
48 who delivered me from my enemies.
Indeed, you exalted me higher than those who rose against me.
You delivered me from the man of violence.
Maybe you’re still protesting the idea of Yahweh being angry and vengeful. In response, let’s consider some New Testament verses.
Do you remember men breaking up the roof of a house to lower their paralyzed friend down to Jesus in Luke chapter five? Verse twenty-six records for us the crowds response.
Luke 5:26 (LEB)
26 And amazement seized them all, and they began to glorify* God. And they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen wonderful things today!”
Did you notice that? They were filled with fear! That’s just one verse. Do you remember Jesus raised the widow’s son in Luke chapter seven? Let’s consider how the crowd reacted to that miracle.
Luke 7:15-16 (LEB)
15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and he gave him to his mother. 16 And fear seized them all, and they began to glorify* God, saying, “A great prophet has appeared among us!” and “God has visited to help his people!”
They responded the exact same way every one of us would have responded if a dead man suddenly sat up and began to speak, they were terrified! I hate the fact that almost every time a modern-day believer talks about the “fear of God” they soften it by saying, “Oh, that means reference not really fear”.
I could go on and on, but I hope you get the point. When in a relationship with the one and only living God Yahweh, fear is a very natural response. I would dare say that if fear is absent it’s time to assess the relationship!
Proverbs 9:10 is just as true today as it was when it was written.
10 The start of wisdom is fear of Yahweh,
and knowledge of the Holy One, insight.
Yahweh is most certainly a God of intense love for mankind. After all, it was that love that sent Jesus to the cross to pay for our sin (John 3:16). But, or I should say “and” He is a Holy, powerful, all-consuming fire when beheld making any response other than fear impossible!
Yahweh is truly worthy of all praise, worship, adoration, obedience, and service. What are we waiting for? Let’s worship Him today!