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There are two kinds of fear in my mind. First, there is the kind of fear that makes a person tremble and shake uncontrollably because of danger pending (or potentially so). Second, there is the kind of fear that is associated with reverence. When Moses was passing the baton (so to speak) to Joshua, he warned Israel about the importance of holding allegiance to the Lord. Thus, in teaching they were to teach their children the Lord’s way so they “may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God” (Deut. 31:13, ESV). In this verse, there is application to both ideas about how to understand the word fear. If one refuses to listen and obey, then fear (trembling, shaking, dread) will eventually takes hold. If one hears and obeys, then reverence and respect take hold because of who God is and His interest in one spiritual and physical good. Surely, it is wise to be controlled by the latter than the former.

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