That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him.

Job 23:15 (NIV)

Scripture tells us “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10 NIV). The problem with the use of the word “fear” is a general misunderstanding today of what “fear” means in the context of God. There’s so much fear in the world, that the last thing most people might want would be something more to be afraid of. However, a lot of people who don’t know the Lord think that the proper way to view Him is to be afraid of Him. The Bible they see is full of death and destruction for everyone who doesn’t believe in God and for those people who disobey Him.

When I was reading Job today I noticed that Job was afraid of God. In fact, Job was terrified.

“But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases.
He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store.
That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him.
God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me.

Job 23:13-16 (NIV)

I decided to take a look at the fear of Job here in the twenty-third chapter to answer these two questions:

  1. Why was Job afraid of God?
  2. What can we learn about Job and his fear of God?

Job was afraid of God because he wasn’t seeing Him clearly. Job knows God is sovereign and nothing happens without His permission. Therefore, Job knows his current tribulation comes from God. Job also knows that no one can oppose God. We see this in Job 23:13, “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases.” Job knows that there could be even greater hardship than what he’s currently facing if God decided to allow for it to go his way. Therefore, he dreads what more might be coming.

Job doesn’t know why the things that are happening to him are happening. He hasn’t done anything wrong. We know Job has desired to plead his case before God because he feels the need to defend himself. We have seen that Job questions God’s justice. No matter how we try, though, we really can’t see God through Job’s perspective as Christians.

Something we might not realize about Job is that he wasn’t in a covenantal relationship with God. Job was before the time of Moses and the Covenant of the Law. How could Job have known the Lord in the way the Israelites or we do? We have the New Covenant through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and the Israelites had the law and the promises of God that told them when they sinned they could repent and God would forgive them. All of us have the promises of God. Those of the Old and New Covenant. However, as I’ve said, Job didn’t have those.

Without a covenant, Job had to rely on his understanding of God and trust in God’s good and just nature. Before this time of tribulation Job always had a clear understanding of his relationship with God.

When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning, he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.

Job 1:5 (NIV)

Job’s daily routine of worshipping and following God changed. It changed into a horrifying nightmare of pain and accusations by people he loved who said he was an evil man who deserved everything that had happened to him. Job’s trust in God was shaken.

People who don’t know God might be afraid of Him because they don’t have a relationship with Him. We who know God can still, if we’re not careful, find ourselves worried about our future and the things to come. Whenever there’s an apparent change in our relationship with God we need to examine ourselves. The odds are that our trust in God has changed. We know God never changes so the issue is always with us. Fortunately, we can go to God and He will guide us back to Him.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.