I’m reading through the Old Testament right now.

As I read I keep running into stories of people who knew God, saw Him do extraordinary things and then turned their back on Him.


I see stories of people who had an amazing faith legacy. All over their land there were monuments to the great works God had done. Scattered throughout their calendar were holidays to remind them of the historical acts of God. There were prophets speaking God’s word and doing miracles, plenty of headlines about the curse of God for disobedience (read through the books of Judges – 2 Kings), and numerous instances of God’s gracious intervention on both a national and individual scale.

And yet the story of the Old Testament is consistently one of a people turning away from and forgetting the God who had chosen them, delivered them from slavery, given them His law, brought them into the promised land, aided them in extraordinary military conquests, and promised blessing for obedience.


As I read these stories I find myself indicted. I find my generation indicted. I find that in spite of the fact that I have SO MUCH MORE than they did (e.g. I don’t have to sacrifice goats… Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice; I don’t have to look to the prophets to know what God is saying, I have His Word to read and His Spirit living inside of me to help me understand and guide my journey, I have friends in the church to do life with, etc.) I still find it easy to get consumed/distracted and wander from the God I love.


The more I read the Scriptures, evaluate my own life, talk with peers, and pray, the more I am coming to believe that we wander, disregard, forget, and miss God in the details of our life because we do not fear Him. We are not afraid of Him. There is an absence of respect that borders on fear for God.

He has become a fluffy, nice guy.

St. Paul says that we should “consider the kindness and sternness of God” (Romans 11:22).

While I am deeply grateful for and regularly a recipient of the kindness of God, perhaps it is time to reflect on His sternness. Perhaps it is time to study, reflect on, and revive a healthy sense of fear regarding the sovereign God of whom Scripture says, “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).


4 thoughts on “Why?

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I remember a few years back coming to the conclusion that if I could teach people one thing it would be to fear God. If they have a healthy fear of God understanding the wrath that is upon them absent of the blood of Christ it will lead them to repentance and salvation.

  2. I think there is also a sense of doubt in our hearing/experiencing God. We may think we have heard Him, felt His presence, or otherwise experience His greatness, yet second-guess ourselves whether it truly was Him. The more convinced we are that we have heard Him, then it doesn’t turn out as we thought (or how we thought we heard), the more we doubt…then disbelieve…and turn our backs.

  3. Pastor Paul,
    I have had an unrest in my heart for a long time about this issue. It seems as if the modern church has been preaching a loving God and leaving out a Holy God. James McDonald states that “We live in a hyper-grace environment where we overestimate God’s love, forbearance, and grace, and we underestimate God’s justice, vengeance, and holiness.” He goes on to say that “the essence of love is God, NOT the essence of God is love. The core of God’s being is holiness that’s why sin has to be paid for—then love found a way.” It seems like it has been a long time since I have heard the word “repentance.”

  4. Couldn’t agree more Paul. I too am in the Old Test. prophets on my way through the Bible. Seems wherever you stop the message is the same. Here it is in Isaiah from the Living Bible: “Why were you more afraid of them [idols] than of me? Is it because I’ve been too gentle, that you have not feared me?” 57:11. (note 66:2, 5). I concluded a long time ago that we learn the fear of God mostly from the O.T. and the love of God mostly from the N.T. I think keeping a proper balance is the key. What do you think?

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