To love or to fear?

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So my darling online Bible study group and myself undertook a journey to read the entire old testament in 187 days. We have read for about a hundred plus days now and are presently reading the book of Isaiah. Considering the stories of Joseph, Esther, David etc which we have read and found quite enjoyable, Isaiah generally seems like a difficult book to read. We find ourselves sometimes asking questions like “what was that chapter talking about?” “What exactly was said?” “What does it refer to?” Etc.

I have a very dear friend whom I recently involved in the bible study plan where we both read and share what we learnt from the reading of the day.

Upon the study of Isaiah 15-19 the following conversation ensued between us:

Friend 1: Finished reading. Did not understand it. It made me tired.

Friend 2: Lol

Can you say a short prayer that God should please teach you what it is you’ve read. That you want to get the meaning as He intends it?

Friend 1: Ok I’ll do that.

Friend 2: To my mind He was cursing His enemies – Moab and Syria.

Friend 1: Yes I felt bad for them. He brought them up and made them seem happy only to bring them down.

Friend 2: Truthfully this reading is tough.
You for meet me when I dey 1 Samuel. The stories were sweet then. Lol
I’m afraid to be on God’s bad side.

Friend 1: Yeah. Very scary.

Friend 2: It is. Many people don’t want to read the bible so they don’t get to see the details. They’d rather just believe God is love and keep doing what they do.

Friend 1: Well yes and no.

Some people dont believe in the bible fully. Its a collection of events from a human’s eyes.

Friend 2: But with the Spirit of God. Yeah many don’t believe in God at all.

Friend 1: So I read, but dont take it too seriously. God is love to me. Case closed.

Friend 2: hmmm…

The thing with that view is that the bible itself says that that view of God is incomplete. Because it says He is love. And He is also a consuming fire. There are two major sides to His personality. He is rich in mercy. Yet people will go to hell. Because they refused to accept Him. If we keep thinking only “God is love” we may tend to think He’ll somehow forgive our sins even without us asking for forgiveness and genuinely repenting. Or that He will change His mind at the last minute and forget about people going to hell.

Friend 1: What I believe is simple. God is love because He is merciful, He forgives all. Yet when you sin and dont show you have manners by apologizing, you get burned. Different strokes for different folks.

Friend 2: Seen. Yet He doesn’t permit us to keep sinning deliberately and coming back for forgiveness simply because He’s merciful. If your hubby keeps cheating and apologizing will you buy it?

It’s really not about how you or I take it or what we believe. It’s all about what He’s said. The responsibility lies on us to find out what He’s said. He said He honours His word more than His name.

Friend 1: Ok.

Friend 2: His word is all written hence we study to learn it and as we read we ask His Spirit to teach us the mysteries in the word. God is extremely deep. We can’t really understand the bible with common sense. It has life in its pages. That’s where His Spirit comes in.

Friend 1: True.

Friend 2: You know if your hubby is cheating everyday God expects you to forgive him everyday? To hold no grudge against anyone no matter how hard? No human can do that. It’s difficult. Only by Him living in you and in full control of you can you do that.

Friend 1: Very true.

Friend 2: Can you give a Muslim your car to go to mosque with? Can you pray for other people for a whole week without saying any prayer for yourself? Having the heart of Jesus is not beans men. Lol

Friend 1: Very true. Jesus is great.

Friend 2: He’s even beyond great.

Friend 1: I agree.

Friend 2: Isaiah is not easy to read though. But we’ll ask for grace and we’ll finish.

Friend 1: Yes we will. Amen.

So what are your thoughts? Is God love only or is He also a consuming fire? May we continue to sin that grace may abound? Is it because of our apologies to Him that He forgives us our sins?

God bless you.

Maxx’

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6 thoughts on “To love or to fear?

  1. My personal opinion here is that people are afraid of God as if he is satan (not saying we should fear satan)
    I have noticed that people declare that should we continue in sin so that grace may abound, it is not a bad scripture
    but it is used to immobilize people from receiving the grace of God.
    the preceding scripture says that ‘where sin abounds, grace abounds much more’
    This is the understanding: If you have a very very very great challenge, God has made more than enough grace for you to overcome that challenge.
    I hope you understand this.
    I have experienced this in my life: I have been privileged to experience great challenge but I have also seen great grace not to enable me to endure the challenge, we Christians have to learn to step over endurance into victory. God has given me great grace to experience great victories and I refuse to not take advantage of the grace of God to walk in victory, I refuse to frustrate the grace of God.
    So if you have great challenge, God has given you even more grace to overcome, God bless you.

  2. When I think about God, even within the context of Isaiah, i consider him in reverent awe, rather than ‘fear’ that keeps me away from Him. It’s another reason i love the Bible, it is complete with all the faces of God in different seasons. Yes, it does seem like God was tough on Moab and Assyria, but if we go back in history, we will see how they became Israel (God’s) enemies. Despite their blood links with Israel, Moab was very determined to seek Israel’s defeat. For eighteen years they oppressed Israel until Israel prevailed (Judg 3.17) and delivered Israel after which the land had rest for eighty years (Judg 3.30).God deals decisively with His enemies and He keeps His covenant to give up nations for Israel’s sake. Isaiah is full of God’s reassurances for His people as well and He decisively punishes them when they awe. That’s wholesome albeit sometimes tough love.

    Truth is that God knows we can’t live for Him on our own so He gives us grace (empowers us) to be just that. We ought to reach out and receive that grace? Does that sound like a terrible God? He is a just God though and if we reject the grace He freely offers, we have undoubtedly chosen the path of destruction. But to be honest, God is ever so gracious, and I see Him look down with love so gentle and anger against wickedness and even at that, He is slow to anger and bounteous in mercy.

    When we receive God’s salvation, we receive grace to live for Him. So we do not approach Him with fear, we approach him in reverence for a God so mighty who yet considers our salvation important enough to open avenues of grace to us.I have experienced His grace and instead of walking in fear as though God is the enemy, i will arm myself with information as a son and walk in relationship. I believe it is quite important to keep that in view so we don’t see God as one setting traps for us to fall or earn punishment or condemnation. Even in a regular home, there are rewards and consequences and where there is order, they are spelt out clearly, same as God spells out what He requires of us as children and requires us to choose.

    So in response, Love or Fear? God acts in Love and I respond in gratitude and reverent awe, surely not ‘fear’.

  3. To love….well truth is from the beginning,it was love that compelled God to put man here,however that love isn’t to be abused,we need to have “reverential” fear of Him, plus in the same isaiah,before all the “woes”He beckoned on them to come let them reason together….anyway gud stuff here bro!
    In another news,you are so right,Isaiah is such a “sharp” contrast from our Nehemiah,Ezra,Esther etc or and our beloved Songs of Songs…hehehe!@ogetours

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