Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 48 - August/September 2012 > Fear (by Mary Turbet)


by Mary Turbet

Fear - Good Fear and Bad Fear

The dictionary gives us two very different meanings of fear.  The one is "awe" and the other "painful emotion" and these days it is also used in such a way that it takes away much of its real meaning - such as when someone says "It was awesome" and they are referring to a relatively minor incident.

I have some fears - what fears do you have? 

Two of my fears are water and heights.

When we were young there was no swimming pool in our town - we did have the big dam where you came out black, covered in leaches (we only did that once), and the Brickworks pit which was quite deep and after swimming there you came out quite brown from the muddy water.  Three miles across the paddocks was the Bong Bong River which was pretty much filled with weed but one day Dad took the tractor and the harrows, threw the harrows into the water and pulled out sufficient weed to make a strip about a yard wide and 12 feet long and there we learned to dog paddle and to float.  That was the extent of my swimming lessons.  Hence my fear of water but I am quite happy in a pool so long as I can touch bottom all the time.

As for heights don't take me near the edge of a cliff.  I first met my husband Ern on Lord Howe Island.  He was there with his brother Jack.  In one area, if you went to the edge of this cliff and looked over it was a wonderful view - so much so that these young men insisted I look over.  I did but I crawled on the ground to the edge while Jack held on to my ankles.

Another type of fear is spoken of in the Bible such as when Adam and Eve hid themselves in the Garden of Eden from God because as they had transgressed they now knew that they were naked.  Adam actually said that he was afraid.  Before this I doubt that he knew the meaning of fear.  I find it interesting that Adam said his nakedness made him afraid but wasn't he afraid because he, having disobeyed in eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, realized he had lost something very precious - the closeness he had with God.  However, there is no doubt that Adam and Eve held God in AWE - they did not fear Him, they walked with him, they talked with him, they must have loved him very much and they gave him reverence.

When a child does something wrong he often hides just like Adam and Eve.  Aren't we the same do we try to hide what we have done?  Do we ever succeed?  When we acknowledge our mistakes, misdemeanors, sin or whatever to the person sinned against, it is unpleasant, we are fearful of the consequences but what a load it is off our mind.  There are times, like if the person sinned against has no knowledge of what you have done and confession would only hurt that person much more, then I think it is better just to confess to God.  When we really repent and ask forgiveness we need have no fear, for God forgives us and cleanses us.  It really makes a difference.  We can put it behind us and feel clean again.

Abraham showed his reverence of God in the way he obeyed when God told him to move away from his homeland.  Then there is the story about him and Isaac and I must admit it is one which I really cannot understand.  However, it does show Abraham's complete trust in God, but how could a loving God ask this of anyone let alone one of His favorite sons - one who constantly obeyed Him?  One day I hope to hear the answer to this.

In Deut 10:12 the Bible says "What does the Lord your God ask of you but to FEAR the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul."  Here the Bible is saying we should live in AWE of God - not to be frightened of Him but reverence Him and love and obey Him.


1 Peter 2:17 says "Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king" but once again, this does not mean that we should be afraid of God but that we should be in awe of God - He is so amazing.

In Acts 13:22 God said "I have found David, a man after my own heart".  David did a terrible thing when he organized Uriah's death so he could have Bathsheba and he seemed to have no conscience about it until Nathan tells him the story about the rich man who takes the poor man's sheep to prepare a meal for a traveller.  Nathan makes him realize what he has done.  He said "I have sinned against the Lord."  I rather think he sinned against Uriah as well.  Psalm 51 tells us of David's sorrow about what he had done.  He says "I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me" and he asks God to "create in him a new heart".  Then in verse 6 he asks God to cleanse him and he says then "I shall be whiter than snow".  God can do this for us too but we must confess our sins and repent of them as David did and ask for God's forgiveness.

When we sin, it is not only the person against whom we sin that is affected.  It has a ripple effect.  Mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles all are or could be hurt because of our wrongful actions but God forgives more freely than any human being.

The crux of the matter really is that we need have no "afraid" fear but we should have "awe" fear for we have a wonderful Saviour in Christ Jesus our Lord who has taken all our sins on his shoulders and has died for us that we may have life and have it more abundantly.

We surely have an awesome God.


Who is that knocking on my door
That knocks in darkness for effect?
Why do you knock that hollow sound
Is it fear, am I correct?

Do you think because you hiss and
Prod in darkness when I'm down,
That you can keep me naked and
Secure my sacred gown?

A bigger fool are you than I
You toothless stalker of my soul.
There's nothing you can do to me
The King has made me whole.

You can knock and taunt me all you like
You spirit of the deep.
Though you knock me down each day
My gown you cannot keep.

The gown I wear He promised that
No-one can take away,
Until He calls and changes me
On this earth's final day.

The holy gown that covers me
I don't deserve you know well
But foolish spirit it's not I
But you who goes to hell.

I will laugh at you oh morning star
Who fell from heaven's gate.
You'll bow before the king of kings,
For that I cannot wait.

by Brian Patterson

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