I’ll share a little something about myself with you. I don’t like to be afraid. Fear is one emotion that I seek to avoid as much as possible. Take, for example, horror movies. Not a fan. Never have been. I don’t even understand the genre or the people who support it. I’ve never understood why people would spend their hard-earned money to scare themselves. There are plenty of things to be afraid of in the world, why should I pay to conjure up that emotion? Why would I want to?
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. In fact, I know I’m not because the Bible has so much to say about fear. A quick hit using a Bible search engine shows that there are 299 verses with the word “fear” in them and 163 more with the word “afraid” in them. Combined, that’s more verses than the Bible’s other great topic—love. The Bible talks a lot about fear. In fact, did you know that some fear is actually good? Say it ain’t so! The Bible says repeatedly that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps.111:10; Prov.1:7, 9:10).
This fear is not a terror or dread where we fear that God is out to get us, but one mixed with love and respect. Like the kind of fear you probably had for your earthly father. You knew that he wasn’t to be crossed and you respected him. So it is with God, but to an even greater degree since He is perfectly holy.
So if we truly begin to be wise when we start to fear God, how does that relate to our lives? To our conduct? To our finances? Well, when we realize that all that we have is given to us by God and that He has a requirement that we return some of our time, talents, and treasure to Him to support the work of His Church, we should fear withholding anything from Him. He knows all things so He knows if you’re being stingy.
This happened with the nation of Israel and He called them to the carpet for it. He cursed them and called them robbers (Mal.3:8-9). Think about that. God calling you a robber. Men may accuse us of many things and some of their accusations may stick, but when God accuses you of something, you’re caught. There’s no denying it. So rather than rob God and think we’re getting away with something, we should honor Him with the first of our fruits (Lev.2:12). In fact, He invites us to test Him that if we bring Him the whole tithe, He says He will pour out a blessing until it overflows (Mal.3:10). God is challenging us to try to out-give Him! I dare you to try it. As you will quickly learn, it can’t be done.