Fear of the Lord and God’s Family
After four hundred years of slavery, God knew he would be making a “big ask” of the children of Israel. They would need to trust him, for they would have to leave the security of their homes and set off on foot into the desert. As we discovered in the Lord’s Prayer, the love of our Abba, who is in heaven, whom we fear for his name is holy, is also someone we can trust and proclaim, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” The love of God and the fear of God naturally produce a trust in God, for who wouldn’t trust someone whose love is unlimited and whose power is unfathomable? And so it would be with the Hebrew slaves.
“He [Moses] also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.” God had given to Moses certain signs that he was to perform for the people: he was to throw his staff on the ground where it became a frightful snake and then, once picked up, became his staff again; he was to place his hand inside his cloak, and when withdrawn, it was covered with dreadful leprosy, and when returned back inside his cloak, his hand became normal. These weren’t the hugely popular miraculous signs that Jesus later performed—turning water into wine, healing the sick, or multiplying loaves of bread. No, the miraculous signs that God gave Moses were intended to instill the fear of God in the Hebrew people, and then once they also “heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery,” they bowed and worshiped this newly revealed Yahweh and Father that they feared, loved, and trusted.