Why Fear and Tremble?

“They shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.” – Jeremiah 33:9

Why fear and tremble? Is not this in part a holy awe of God’s presence? Remember that text, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” The argument for fear and trembling is the work of God in the soul. Because God is working in you there must be no trifling. If the eternal Deity deigns to make a workshop of my nature, I too must work, but it must be with fear and trembling.

     So, then, the blessed presence of God in the believer’s joy, and the very fact that He has worked it in him, is a cause for the fear and trembling which comes over the spirit of the joyous believer, and that I think is the first meaning of our text. God has been very good to me, unspeakably good to me, and I have plainly seen the traces of His fatherly hand in my life. Yea, I have so seen them that I have cried out with adoring amazement in many a Bethel, “How dreadful is this place! It is none other than the house of God and the very gate of heaven.” So has it been with you, dear friends. When God has come very near to you in a blaze of mercy, when He has done things that you looked not for; when your mouth has been filled with laughter, and your tongue with singing because of His goodness, have you not at the same time felt overcome by the excess of His favour? Have you not been able to sympathize with Peter when, at the sight of his boat full of fish, he cried “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Have you not felt a solemn trembling like Manoah when he feared that he must die, because he had seen an angel of the Lord? I know it has been so with you. A little mercy would have made you sing, but a great mercy has made you sit in silence before the Lord or fall on your knees in adoration. A common providence would have charmed you, but an extraordinary providence has overwhelmed you; you have lain in the dust at Jesus’ feet, feeling yourself to be but dust and ashes, and yet every particle of dust has been full of wondering love to God. This is one way in which God keeps His people right in the days of their joy: where a shallow drink might have intoxicated, He gives so deep a draught that the danger is past, and holy wonder takes the place of unholy pride. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


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