Posted by: Dan | March 3, 2005

The God of Commands

Give me hope, Give me hope
That emptiness brings fullness
And loss of love brings wholeness
To us all.

– The Indigo Girls

How often we view God as the Law-Giver, as the Morally Perfect One. God, the Giver of Commands. God the one who is never fully satisfied but always demanding more of us.

Well, come, let us reason together, what is the command that is given more than any other command in the bible?

Do not be afraid.

Fear not.

Be not afraid.

Strange that I don't hear too many sermons preached on the Law of Fearlessness. How is this the command issued more than any other? Because it is a command that essentially reveals the character of the God of the bible. That God of the bible is the God of hope, of new creation, and of resurrection. The God of the bible, revealed in Jesus, is the God of love. Thus, our fundamental response to this God is to be one of trust. It it because we trust in the unshakable and irrevocable love of this God that we are able to live fearlessly.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
For thou art with me.

– Psalm 23

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Responses

  1. Well, Dan, some more interesting thoughts. And of course I have questions.

    So, God is encouraging us not to be afraid, to live without fear; this is the overarching command given in the Bible. Once again I need your help with understanding this. Seems easy for God to say.

    What do you mean by living fearlessly?

    See, I think fearless living Jesus-style is about being scared shitless but still going the way of the cross. It is about acknowledging and expressing fear yet still acting in ways that counter the fear. You know, there are a lot of things that scare me. Hell, I worry a lot about these things.

    Furthermore, I don’t think that “don’t be afraid” and “fear not” are commands, they are words of comfort. Right now we live in a world of pain and fear, but somehow, in some bizzare mysterious way, God is redeeming creation.

    How can we not be afraid? Is that possible? We are all walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and, damnit I am very afraid of evil and the power of it, evil friggin’ hurts. But I am also confident that the power of evil is nothing compared to the power of God.

    How can there be trust without fear? I find that I don’t really cry out to God until I find that I am at the end of myself and my own resources.

    That’s all.
    Jude

  2. A few things:

    (1)- “Don’t be afraid” and “fear not” are commands. The verb form is the imperative. Imperative, for those who don’t know, equals command. You can’t really get around that. Of course these are also a word of comfort. There’s no reason why they can’t be both. I’d say the two go rather well together, as I tried (perhaps unsuccesfully) to express in this post.

    (2)- I appreciate the whole challenge of acknowledging and expressing fear while living in ways that counter that fear. However, what I think this post implies is that perhaps the longer we live in that way perhaps the more deeply we will realise that there is nothing to fear. The deeper we journey down that road the deeper our assurance becomes. Not that there isn’t pain along the way…

    (3)- I don’t quite get the whole “how can there be trust without fear?” question. I’m not downplaying the significance of desperation or anything like that. Trust can exist without fear because we live with the uncertainty that comes with not being able to see the big picture – but we know the God who sees the whole picture and trust that God to lead us where we need to go.


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