Puritan John Flavel says that the fear of God is a supernatural gift. Not all people have it. Flavel goes on to describe three uses of the fear of God for our good:
1. To excite us to our duty. In Jeremiah, God says of Israel :I will put my fear into them "and they shall not depart from me." To be kept by God is no small thing.
2. To keep us from sin and the resulting grief and guilt. Joseph was in prison but free of conscience. The fear of God had given him feet to flee the sensual grasp of Potiphar's wife.
3. To prompt us to "make timely provisions for future distresses, that...they may not come by way of surprise upon us." When God closed the door of the ark, fear came but too late for the scorners.
Do you see why I am addicted to the Puritans? Next post I will summarize Flavel's causes of sinful fear. If you find this helpful, leave a short comment telling me so. May your fear -- for we all do and shall fear -- be the supernatural fear of God that he gifts his children.