God Is a Joy to be Near and a Terror to Those Who Flee

God Is a Joy to be Near and a Terror to Those Who Flee

Pastor John (1981) illustrates what it means to fear the Lord in Exodus 20:20 —

Noël and the boys and I went out to Dick and Irene Tiegen's place last week. They have a big dog as tall as Benjamin which greeted us with barks and growls from where he was chained. But after we were there and in the house with the dog, he was friendly.

Then we went outside again and Irene gave the warning: Don't run from him. But as Karsten was heading out to the car, the dog came trotting up behind, and instead of slowing down and petting the dog, Karsten started to run, and immediately the dog barked and growled.

What a lesson in the fear of God. Irene was Moses and she says to us Israelites, the Piper family, "Do not fear to draw near, but keep the fear of the dog (the fear of the Lord) before your eyes, lest you try to run away (lest you start to fall into sin)." God is a joy to be near and a terror to those who flee. The comparison breaks down, however: Irene put the dog in the basement, but nobody puts God in the basement.

Excerpted from A Woman Who Fears the Lord Is to Be Praised.

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Josh Etter is the Director of Communications at Desiring God.