Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Power of Fear

God has been convicting me lately of a fear that is paralyzing and not pleasing to Him. I was repenting of it when I randomly (like the arrow that pierced Ahab's armor) picked up Volume III of the works of Puritan John Flavel. What should I find but "A Practical Treatise of Fear."

The Puritans are not simplistic. Flavel does not say "Do not fear" as we might expect. No, he takes us to Isaiah 8 where God tells his quaking people (who await the king of Assyria's merciless onslaught) : "Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary." In other words, he gives a greater fear to chase out the lesser.

In the words of Flavel: "If a man do really look to God in a day of trouble and fear as to the Lord of hosts, i.e. one that governs all the creatures, and all their actions; at whose beck and command all the armies of heaven and earth are, and then can rely upon the care and love of this God, as a child in danger of trouble reposes on, and commits himself with greater confidence to the care and protection of his father: O what peace, what rest, what rest, must necessarily follow upon this!"

There is a sinful fear that has the power to paralyze but there is a greater fear that frees us. God used Flavel to quiet my soul.

Do you see now why I love the Puritans? Even a couple of paragraphs is more satisfying than a little pinch of chewing tobacco tucked into the cheek of an old sailor.

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