None of us are strangers to mountains. We might live in the city or in the middle of some high plains plateau, but we’ve all known mountains in our lives. None of us are strangers to fear.
Thankfully there are plenty of people in the Bible who were scared. Moses was afraid of the burning bush; Gideon was scared of his neighbors; the disciples were afraid of the storm. But there’s more to their stories than water, war, or fire. It seems that there is another type of fear to the type we share with Moses, Gideon, and all the others: The Bible calls it 'fear of the Lord.’
In this section Moses has just returned from the top of Mount Sinai where God had given him the Ten Commandments. As he explains these new guides for living, Moses throws in this line about fear. Isn't it a bit odd, telling his people not to be afraid because the fear of the Lord's coming to town? Weird stuff.
But hold on. What we begin to see is that fear of God is very different from all other sorts of fear. It's not a crippling dread, the type that keeps us pinned under the duvet when the monsters are crawling under the bed. It's something better than that, a reverence for who God is, His enormity, His power, and His holiness. It's something that actually helps us, something that keeps us closer to God, that helps us obey him.
Fear of God is a very good thing, something to be treasured. It brings purity and wisdom, it helps us to worship God because we have a sense of how awesome and powerful he is, and it helps us not to sin. And it changes how we see those mountains ahead of us, turning them into opportunities to see God at work.