Well maybe YOU haven’t but my parents threatened to put it in me a couple of times.
Did you know some of our most used, everyday expressions in the English language come from the Bible?
For the month of February I’m deviating from the norm, taking a side road, switching gears.
Just for the month.
I thought it might be fun to do something different by checking out where and how some of these familiar phrases originated. And in doing so hopefully uncover new nuggets of truth from God’s Word that we might otherwise overlook.
You with me?
Okay, back to putting the fear of God in you.
While reading through the book of Exodus recently I discovered where the phrase comes from. It’s tucked away in chapter 20 verse 20.
“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’” (NIV)
When we hear the phrase used today, we usually hear it as “I’m going to put the fear of God in you” and not with you. I’m guessing for dramatic purposes. And when it’s said this way, it’s a sentiment intended to instill dread.
Of course I’m sure when my parents used it they meant it purely in the most biblical sense, to keep me from sinning. Ahem…
It’s also used is to express how one feels after a scary event (accident, bad storm, break-in, near death event). “That tornado put the fear of God in me alright!”
But what’s the real story?
In Exodus 20, God had just given the Israelites the Ten Commandments. As He was delivering the Commandments, Mount Sinai shook with lightning and thunder and loud trumpet blasts and billowing smoke. (verse 18). The people were instructed as to how far to stay from the mountain because if they came too close, they would be killed.
Okie dokie, that would put the fear of God in me!
Yet in the beginning of verse 20 Moses comforts the Israelites by saying, “Do not be afraid.”
God wasn’t trying to scare the Israelites but instead He was showing them His great power and might so they would yirah, (the Hebrew word used in the text meaning reverence) Him. And because of their reverence and awe, not sin against Him.
I’ll bet you’ll never look at that phrase the same way again.
If you can think of any idioms you use that might originate in God’s Word, leave me a comment and we’ll look them up.
When a guy gets slapped on the back and told, “You are the man!” it usually means he’s done something great.
Next week we’ll find out what it really means. Do you have a clue?