OUR FEAR OF GOD SHOULD MAKE US AFRAID TO DISOBEY HIM; OUR LOVE OF GOD SHOULD MAKE US WANT TO OBEY HIM.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read Deuteronomy 31:9-13.
Verse of the Day: “I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me” (Jeremiah 32:40, NASB).
“Your dad is huge!” Darcelle said as she and Shanaya walked down the steps of Shanaya’s house on their way to the store.
Shanaya smiled. She was used to her friends being surprised the first time they met her dad. “Yeah,” she answered. “He used to be a football player.”
“You mean, for like, real football?” Darcelle asked.
Shanaya nodded. “He’s retired now, but he played for a couple different teams.”
“Wow!” Darcelle thought for a moment. “Aren’t you afraid of him?”
“Afraid of him?” Shanaya echoed. “Why would I be afraid of him?”
Darcelle stooped down and picked up a tiny twig off the sidewalk. “Because he could snap you” — she broke the twig between her fingers— “like this!”
Shanaya laughed and shook her head. “No,” she said. “I’m not afraid that he’ll hurt me. I mean, he may be big and strong, but he’s really loving too. I love it when we cuddle together, and when he lets me sit on his lap.”
“Girl, as big as you are?” Darcelle said. “You sit on his lap?”
“Uh-huh,” Shanaya answered. They reached the corner opposite the store and waited for the traffic lights to change.
“You’re telling me that your dad never gets mad at you or anything like that?” Darcelle said.
Shanaya thought for a moment. “Yeah, he gets mad sometimes. But you know what I hate even more than when I make him mad? When I know I’ve disappointed him … or hurt him. That’s what I’m afraid of, I guess: I’m afraid of hurting him. I’m afraid of disobeying him … and disappointing him.”
“I’d be afraid too,” Darcelle said, “if my dad was the size of an apartment building!”
The light changed, and the girls crossed the street. “I keep telling you, it’s not like that,” Shanaya insisted. “I know my dad loves me, and I love him. So I’m afraid to disobey him, yeah, but it’s like . . . it’s like my respect for him makes me afraid to disobey him, and my love for him makes me want to obey him.”
TO DISCUSS: Is Shanaya’s relationship with her dad like your feelings about your parents? If so, how? If not, how are your feelings different? Do you think Shanaya’s “fear” of her dad is anything like the “fear of the Lord”? If so, how? If not, how is it different? Does your respect for God make you afraid to disobey him? Does your love for him make you want to obey him?
TO PRAY: “Lord, we want to fear you in a healthy way. We also want to love you, Abba Father.”