An African Proverb reads – “It is better to be loved than feared.”
Odd statement coming from Africa, isn’t it? When we read about Africa don’t we read about superstition and fear? When is the last time you heard the words “gods,” “Africa,” and “love” all in the same sentence? Instead, we find tribes of people living in constant fear that the god of rain will be angry with them and send a storm that will flood their village. Don’t we read about Africa being filled with gods that demand certain sacrifices, that, if not performed, would result in storm, drought, or some kind of plague? Why? Because their gods loved them? No, to voice their god’s displeasure with them. How often do we read in history of lands where superstition reigns and the natives don’t want to “anger the gods,” so to speak. (We even had that in North America with our Indian tribes, didn’t we?)
Somehow, they get the idea that God or gods = fear.
Egypt had that with their gods, didn’t they? They worshipped the Nile River, they worshiped the sun, frogs, cattle, … you name it – Egypt had it for a god. Why? Out of love? Unfortunately not, it was out of fear.
You know what gets me about the Most High God? He’s all about truth, not fear. He doesn’t want you, or anyone who lived thousands of years ago, to wake up in the morning and burn incense to the “god of the sun,” because you’re afraid that the sun god will get angry if you don’t.
Take Egypt for example…Jehovah sent Moses to deliver His people from the bondage of Pharaoh in Exodus, but that wasn’t the only thing the Lord was going to do in Egypt. In Exodus 7:5 the Lord says, “And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord…” While Jehovah was delivering His people Israel, He also wanted to teach Egypt an important lesson – I alone am God. (Remember that the Egyptians served many gods.) So what did Jehovah do? Through ten plagues He shook the foundations of Egyptian religion by making their very gods detestable in their sight. First, He turned the Nile (remember they worshipped the Nile) to blood. Then, as Pharaoh kept refusing to listen to what Moses said, He had to target another Egyptian god, and then another and another…the sun was darkened, an abundance of frogs appeared (as it must have seemed) out of nowhere, the cattle died – every one of Egypt’s gods failed them when put up against the One True God. Why? Was it because God was being mean to them? No, not at all – it was because the Lord wanted the Egyptians to know that He is the only God…that they didn’t have to fear all those other things. God was trying to teach them, if you will, that it is better to be loved than feared.
And so it is with us. When sin entered the world, there had to be separation between man and God because only a perfect being could be acceptable in the sight of a perfect, Holy God. When the tides were reversed, suddenly, in the garden God was more to be feared than loved…and He didn’t like it that way.
God knew that fear and love cannot co-exist…
1 John 4:18 says:
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
So how did the Lord remedy this problem? Well, let’s go back to Egypt and the time of the Exodus and we’ll read about a lamb (one for each household) that was slain, it’s blood was put on both sides of the door and above it – and whoever was inside that door was safe. Then we come to the New Testament and read about another Lamb…not just any lamb, but the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world. His blood was shed for sin, and when we are covered in His blood we are safe in Him.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
– John 3:16
You know what? Ever since then, nothing has stood in the way of individuals from loving the Lamb. We serve a God that we can love without fear …watch the video below and be blessed!