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God is scary.
That's what the Bible must want us to believe because of the many references to the "fear of God" and "fearing God," right? 
Although not directly related to this past Sunday's message on 
loving well in the relationships that matter most, the mention of 'fearing God' was part of one of the scriptures we read. Let's look at that passage again before I share a great illustration that will help you to better understand (and enjoy!) the fear of God. 
Speaking of a coming new covenant with His people, God says: 
"I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good" 
Jeremiah 32.39-41  
So, does God want us to simultaneously dread Him and also be in a relationship of deeply meaningful exchanging love? Somehow that doesn't seem to work. I took a moment in the message to simply point out that the Bible's use of the fearing God terminology is not to conjure up a response of becoming horrified of God, but instead is to summon powerfully descriptive language in an attempt to portray the vastly astonishing awe, reverence, respect and worship God is most worthy of. 
After one of our services, one of our members shared an excellent and helpful illustration of the fear of God with me. Her husband has captained cruise ships and ferries in his career. She explained that if her children were on any of his vessels, they would have free access, unlike anyone else in the boat or on Earth for that matter, to run up to the captain of the ship saying "Daddy, daddy!" and hug him. At the same time, their children understood that if their dad announced suddenly that everyone must get a life preserver and head to the lifeboats they would need to respond immediately too because they understood the gravity of his authority. 
The fear of God is linked to the powerful reality of God's position –Sovereign, Creator, All-powerful, King, Ruler & Judge– and then to the profound reality of our position, dearly beloved children with freely given access to love and relationship in abundance. 
"He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure." 
Isaiah 33.6 
Pastor Mike