Proverbs 28:14, “Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.”
Some Christians believe that since God is our loving Father, there is no need to fear Him. This false idea is rooted in their misunderstandings of such verses like Romans 8:15, where the believer is told to call God “Abba” and not be a slave to fear, and in 1 John 4:18, where we’re told that God’s perfect love drives out all our fear.
It’s true we now can approach God as our “Heavenly Father or Abba” and not have any fear of punishment in regards to our sins. At the same time, King Solomon reminds us in today’s proverb, that we should always tremble before God. No matter how much we love God, we shouldn’t lose our deep respect for who He is and how great His power is. A wise man once said, “I never tremble in the presence of evil, but I tremble every time I consider the greatness of God.”
On one hand, I don’t believe Christians should be walking around shaking like a leaf because they think God will strike them down. On the other hand, we shouldn’t be hardhearted and immature to think that God is our pet lion and that He only roars when we let Him. We should have confidence in God’s love and tremble before His great power.
If we forget God’s love for us, we will live under guilt and condemnation; and if we lose our respect for Him, our hearts will grow hard and we will fall into trouble. Therefore, balance is the key to understanding how the believer should both be madly in love with God and always tremble before Him. We should have the balance to understand, in regards to adoption and salvation, that God has covenanted with His people to always love and protect us. And we should also have the balance to understand, that those who turn away from God, will be eternally damned.
Trembling should always be our response to God’s power; comfort will always be His loving response to our trembling heart.
People in the Bible would always tremble when God appeared to them in power, yet God was always faithful to comfort them. John experienced this in Revelation 1:17, “When I saw him [Jesus], I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.’”
Let us always tremble before God and not let our hearts become hard because of the deceitfulness of pride and sin. God said in Hebrews 3:13, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
- Ask God to reveal any pride or misunderstandings you may have concerning God’s greatness.
- Allow your heart to tremble in God’s presence when He reveals His great power to you (Jeremiah 5:22).
- Always love and revere God.