Say you not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear you their fear, nor be afraid.…
I. THE WHOLE SUBJECT OF GODHEAD IS ONE OF AWE, and if of awe, then "dread." The more you know of God, the more you feel the unfathomableness of the mystery of Godhead. And all mystery is awe. It is a rule of our being, that we must tremble when we stand on the margin of the unknown. Therefore they who know most of God will most "fear," not His anger, but simply His amazing greatness.
II. THE SENSE OF MERCY AND BENEFITS HEAPED UPON US HAS AN OVERWHELMING INFLUENCE UPON THE MIND. Do not you know what it is to tremble at a danger when you have escaped it, much more than you did when you encountered it? That is exactly the "fear" and the "dread" of a pardoned sinner. It is the contemplation of a thundercloud which has rolled over your head.
III. REVERENCE IS THE GREAT LESSON WHICH OUR AGE HAS TO LEARN. Be suspicious of the love which is without awe. Remember that our best acquaintance with God only shows us more the immensity of the fields of thought which no mind can traverse.
IV. "HE SHALL BE FOR A SANCTUARY." Do you recoil at the idea of dreading God? That which makes the dread makes the hiding place. To those who fear, He shall be for a sanctuary.
1. To a Jewish mind, the first idea of the sanctuary would be refuge.
2. The sanctuary of safety becomes the home of peace. "Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations."
3. God is the fountain of your holiness. The Shechinah shines you become familiar with the precincts of that holy you catch some of its rays, and reflect its glory.
Parallel VersesKJV: Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.