‘Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.’ Psalm 34:11
The people of Israel had sanctified themselves to meet the Lord at Mount Sinai. Therefore it is no wonder that everybody was deeply impressed by the thunder and lightning and the sound of the trumpet, in which God revealed Himself to them on the smoking mountain.
Of course all of them had experienced thunderstorms before that, but when this forces of nature manifested themselves at the very moment when God was about to speak, then it became frightening! So it is quite understandable that the people preferred to stand at a distance and asked Moses to speak with God for them. They could not bear the presence of God for fear of dying.
With us, it is often exactly the opposite. We would finally like to experience something from God, a sign from heaven! There is so much fear and anxiety in the world, but there is little left of the fear of the Lord. For that very reason there is so much anguish and terror.
A real encounter with God, like Israel had at Mount Sinai, would deliver us from a lot of agony. For always when God meets man, He says, ‘Do not be afraid!’ Even if meeting Him would initially scare us, it would teach us through many trials, to fear Him again, to stand in childlike awe before Him. And who learns to have childlike awe of God, experiences the miracle that the desire to sin disappears. Without the fear of the Lord, sin and terror reign in our hearts instead of His peace.
It turns out that young people loathe talk about ‘the fear of the Lord’ when this is just ‘based on merely human rules’ (Isaiah 29:13), but when they meet someone who genuinely lives by the fear of the Lord, they are eager to listen.