If you said to people familiar with the OT, “I thought of my mother while reading in Exodus today.” Many might immediately conclude that I hand in mind the commandment to “Honor your father and your mother…” (Ex. 20:12) And they would be wrong. I actually thought of her regarding two particular sayings she used to always throw out at me…”I hope that put the fear of god in you!” and “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.
What caused those two wonderful pieces of advice to surface where one particular passage in Exodus and one overall theme. The passage is 20:20, “Do not be afraid; for God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin.” Seems rather paradoxical. On one hand “do not be afraid” on the other, “fear him”. Of course, it is not a paradox. We have nothing to fear when it comes to our relationship with God if we have the proper fear of Him. Something, I believe, is sorely lacking in the contemporary church. (Large statement, I know)
The other is “good intentions”. On several occasions the wonderful people that Moses has in tow, offer up these words or something similar, “Everything that the LORD has spoken we will do.” Of course, we all know that was not the case. In fact, it seemed as though they could not wait to do otherwise. How like me, these pitiful people called God’s chosen people appear to behave at times. Saying one thing and doing another. Whatever were they thinking?
It appears I must confess, my dear mother may have been right. Even though, I don’t think those words were ever spoken in tones of philosophical wisdom, she indeed was speaking the truth. Fear of God is a good thing and good intentions are a bad thing if not followed with proper action. Way to go mom!
Father Spirit, may I always have proper respect for who you are – the God of the universe, there is none like You. May my intentions be supported by action that is pleasing to you and honorable to my fellow man. In Jesus Name.