Respect Does Not Equal Fear

There is something absolutely terrifying yet empowering and marvelous about sliding your foot in the stirrup, grabbing onto the saddle horn, pulling yourself up and swinging your legs around a 2,000 pound horse. You go from being on the solid ground with complete control to several feet up with little control. I don’t like to think of riding as “controlling” my horse. I have determined that having built an established relationship with this animal, I can trust him to take care of me.  

I hear people comment all the time that they are frightened of horses. It’s wise to have a healthy “respect” for these amazing animals, but respect does not equal fear.

When you look at the Hebrew word for fear – Yirah – you see that it has both positive and negative implications. This word “Yirah” is used for both. The Hebrew definition for “Yirah” uses words such as “to be afraid or dread and morally revere.” When we read in scripture, “Fear the Lord,” let’s not be confused with frightened versus reverence in these passages.

Fear drives away.

Reverence drives near.

I love the definition of the word reverence. On good ole, it says “a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.” I want to have that type of fear for the Lord. I want it to have “deep respect tinged with awe.”

When we view our Savior through eyes of awe and wonder, it draws us closer to Him as we unlock the mysteries of who He is and what He has done for us.

I have a respect for my horse, Bert. And he has a respect for me. This mutual respect has developed over time. It has come from spending more and more time together. It has come at a cost. Many hours of working together. Many hours of us both sweating in this Texas heat till we worked through our issues, in turn, forming a closer bond.  Sacrifices were made – time, money, and pride.

This past weekend, Bert and I, spent several hours together. I settled on the idea I was going to go ride him on the trail by myself – something we hadn’t done in years. In the past we had let fear drive us away from doing the things we enjoyed doing together, but I knew today was going to be different. That today there was a change. Today we had crossed over from fear to reverence. I walked out to the opening of the trail and told Bert that we were going to go for a ride, just the two of us and that I would never ask him to do something that would hurt him. I hopped back in that saddle and we rode around. We rode with no fear. We rode calmly through the fields watching the cows move from one side to the other while they grazed.  

I hear God saying those same words to us – “No need to fear child, I will not lead you to harm. Trust me as I lead!” The more time we spend with God, the more we will be able to let go and trust Him to lead us. Don’t let fear drive you away from Him but let the wonder and awe draw you in to know more of Him today.  

"So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today—live a good life.” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13 MSG)

Let’s learn to revere Him today, as we do, it will create a longing to draw near, being obedient and walking in His ways!