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God Is Not My Buddy

by Susan Budensiek  
3/25/2021 / Christian Living


“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul…” Deuteronomy 10:12 (NASB)

 

 

God is many things – Creator, Healer, Deliverer, Heavenly Father, the God of Miracles, and many more…but He is NOT my buddy.

 

We have allowed that well-known character of being “lukewarm” (Revelation 3:16) to become acceptable in recent generations and that is one reason we so often hear that the church of Laodicea represents the last church age before Jesus comes back again.

 

And we hear that we need to have an “intimate relationship with the Lord” much more frequently now than ever before, as far back as I can remember. It isn’t that we need it more in the 21st century than those in any other time in history. Rather, it is that we have lost our “fear of the Lord”. We have become way too casual, too “familiar” with Him, which might sound okay at first. But this “familiar” is the same as presumptuousness – the same sin David asked God to keep him from in Psalm 19:13.

 

The problem is not the phrase “intimate relationship with the Lord.” It is our execution of this coaching that is the problem.

 

First things first. What is the “fear of the Lord” anyway? It is mentioned in the Bible, in some form, hundreds of times depending upon which translation/version is used. That very fact should give us an idea of the importance of this command. A common definition of this phrase is ‘reverential awe’, which works well in its simplicity.

 

Looking at Scripture, consider Abraham and how he interacted with God. He was called a friend of God, so if anyone could get away with being too familiar or presumptuous with God, it would have been Abraham. Yet it was always with the utmost respect and awe that he approached God, even when he was bargaining with God for any righteous people who might be living in Sodom and Gomorrah to be spared.

 

Sometimes I have thought people who lived through the exodus from Egypt had an advantage for having a proper fear of the Lord after seeing first-hand the many miracles God performed on their behalf. Nobody had to tell them, they saw it all with their own eyes. How easy to be in awe of Almighty God!

 

But even with that huge advantage, not all kept the due respect for God. Remember Nadab and Abihu at the consecration of the tabernacle in the wilderness in Leviticus 9 and 10? Their lack of fear of the Lord and their irreverence earned them instant death.

 

Society in general is descending into mediocrity, so it is easy for things once not even considered acceptable to have slipped right into the church, and it tells on us. It tells God and anyone else who might be observing that we like to call ourselves Christians, but we have modified the requirements on how we interpret the “fear of the Lord” clause. The old description of a proper fear of the Lord was just too burdensome and took too much effort. Many years ago, children were raised with the knowledge that going to church automatically meant we wore our “good” clothes – it was a given. We just knew it was done because of respect for God and His house.

 

But was it really that important? After all, I remember hearing that God accepts us as we are, and we don’t have to “fix ourselves up” before accepting His wondrous gift of salvation. So, which is it?

 

Both. Once saved we are required to live as God’s Word tells us to. We profess to follow Him at our conversion, when our awe, respect, and gratitude are at their peak. But then, life happens. Zeal fades as everyday life, and its responsibilities return. Sometime later our conscience gets pricked, and we realize the need to get back to that spot where we once were, near to God (James 4:8), where we belong.

 

Getting there is the challenge. It doesn’t just happen because we have come to the realization that we need it – it must be sought after (Proverbs 1:29-30), learned (Psalm 34:11; Deuteronomy 4:10), and we must desire it (Nehemiah 1:11). Charles Spurgeon preached an entire sermon on “A Fear To Be Desired” which he concluded with these words: “May God grant to every one of us the grace to believe in Jesus, and to rest in Him, and then to walk in the fear of the Lord all our days, for Christ’s sake! Amen” and the entire 103rd Psalm. Fear of the Lord in its required form is harder to regain after allowing it to deteriorate into casual familiarity.

 

How do I know this?

 

Been there, done that.

I was raised in church but always felt like I was missing something. Now the Word of God excites me! My curiosity enhances pursuance of discernment. I have often felt discouraged, but not totally defeated knowing that in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

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