by Pamela Gonzalez – Director of Communications/Valpo FUMC
Fear of the Lord. We just don’t hear enough about that anymore but Tozer takes it head on in today’s devotional. What is that, exactly? Is it fear, as in punishment? Hell perhaps? (Another topic we just don’t want to talk about).
Let me tell you about my sister, Barb. Barb HATED peanut butter. In our house, peanut butter was a staple. Dad sold shoes for a living, and there were six kids in our family, so we pretty much had peanut butter every day for lunch. Not that I minded. I love peanut butter. But Barb hated it, and my mom found out that Barb was throwing away her peanut butter sandwiches at lunchtime. (The nuns snitched!) I remember my mom yelling at Barb when she found out, and then to drive home her point, yelled “If you don’t eat your peanut butter sandwiches you’re going to Hell!”
Whoa! Is that putting the fear of the Lord into a kid or what! No, I don’t exactly think that’s what Tozer is talking about. He mentions Cain and Able, and their sacrifices. Cain thought he was all that because he worked hard to produce his crops. Sure, the Lord was expecting a blood sacrifice, but hey, killing a sheep isn’t anywhere near as hard as planting, watering, weeding and harvesting, right? Cain brought the Lord an offering of his sweat and toil, and the Lord wasn’t pleased. Why? Because it wasn’t blood. It was always about the blood.
I never got this when I was growing up. The nuns would always tell us “Christ shed his blood for you.” Why? Nobody ever explained that!
Blood has always been God’s covering for sin. We don’t like to talk about that anymore. Cain did what he thought was best, but God had an expectation. Why? Well, the blood sacrifice was always pointing to the final blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, but Cain couldn’t have known that then. He thought he knew better than God. He didn’t fear the Lord because, thinking his plan was better than God’s, he didn’t get that he was a sinner who needed the blood as a covering for his sins.
We see this blood requirement all throughout Scripture. Those who truly feared the Lord, who accepted that God’s way wasn’t necessarily their way, who obeyed God even if they couldn’t understand, who gave a blood sacrifice because they knew and accepted that as the only way to cover their sins,, those people did what a Holy God required of them. Not because of threats of Hell or punishment, but because they possessed obedient hearts that understood that their sin separated them from God and that the blood was a covering for their sins.
Jesus was the one perfect sacrifice, given once and for all for anyone who only has to put their trust in the blood He shed. Accepting that sacrifice is an act of fearing the Lord.