The Terror of the Lord

Last night, I had my last Facebook fling. I was adding a few friends, despite a hesitation in my spirit: “Don’t do that.” As I left my computer to go to bed, I felt that something was not right, as though the Spirit of God had left me. As I crawled into bed, I could not go to sleep. I lay there, praying. Nothing happened. The empty feeling did not go away; I did not feel renewed. I prayed. Writhed on the bed. The agony as verses like Hebrew 10:26-27 went through my mind: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  27  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” I felt that fearfulness. Oh, it was awful. I knew that God had never wanted me to get on Facebook in the first place; and now, this. I wished that I had never signed up. I wondered what was next. What was life without my Savior? I prayed for a while. Paced the floor. Oh… I couldn’t stand it. Finally, about midnight, I went to my parents’ room and asked my father to pray for me. We all prayed together and I felt better enough to go to sleep.

But when I woke up this morning, the feeling had not gone away. Waves of fear came over me like the night before. Agony. I prayed. As I prayed, God brought to my mind a line from a song that He had given me recently: “You will never know the joy that can be yours today, If you never let the Savior in.” “Lord Jesus,” I prayed. “Please come in and fill me.” The presence of God entered my soul in sweet relief. I prayed on, asking Him to fill me and to abide in me. I prayed until my alarm clock went off at 6 o’clock. The morning was dawning, and as I opened my eyes and looked out the window at the new light of the morning, a verse came to me: “…walk in newness of life.” Yes, I had newness of life. Peace in my soul and joy in my heart. I dressed and headed out to start the day.

A verse that I remembered was: “Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” (2 Cor 5:11). I knew that terror of the Lord. Terror. It had not been pleasant. Oh, the agony I had suffered. God’s peace was with me as I headed out, resolved to get rid of my Facebook account. The thing that had seemed so wonderful before was now awful to me. I wanted to live for God.

As I went through the day, something seemed to happen partway through. The peace of God seemed to leave and fear came in again. I prayed. The feeling was not as the night before, but not good. I could not shake the feeling that I had strayed away.

Finally, in the afternoon, I was in the house. I prayed, “Lord, give me a word from this book” as I held His Word in my hand. I opened it to the book of Psalms, chapter 37. I read down the page to verses that jumped out at me. Psalms 37:23-24  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.  24  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” I saw that God delighted in my way and I would not be utterly cast down. Oh, the peace from God as I burst into tears! God’s peace is so wonderful.

Oh, my friends, don’t do what I did. Don’t do that which God’s Spirit warns you not to do, even faintly. Listen to Him and put Him first. As I read this morning in my devotions, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” Matthew 13:44  The kingdom of God is worth more than anything else. Don’t let other things crowd Him out. Oh, don’t tempt Him and grieve Him. Listen to Him and make His Kingdom first priority!


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8 Replies to “The Terror of the Lord”

  1. Hi Joel,

    Sometimes a check from the Holy Spirit is compelling, almost irresistible, and at other times like a deep unsettling. Praise Him that He has a plan for you that defines what, and what not. Facebook can be, and is to many, very many, a terrible addiction and temptation to mingle, mix and participate indiscrimnately.



  2. Thank you. This post is a real blessing to me.
    I want to “work out my own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phi. 2)
    There is something I like in this fear: it appears together with the glory and holiness of God!
    Psalm 19:9 “The fear of Jehovah is clean, enduring for ever” I’m also wondering: should we not be looking for this fear?
    Personally I might describe my faith as having travelled from this fear to his unshakable and durable love. But now, standing firmly in his love and grace, I’m more and more longing to find my way back to this pure fear, so that, as you wrote it elsewhere, I might be received in the Kingdom of our Lord with these words: “Well, good and faithful bondman”
    Finally, thanks also for the quote of Psalm 37 which I will definitely remember!

  3. Brother Joel,

    Excellent article! Thank you so much for your transparency and your honesty. I can understand what you are describing here because I have experienced similar things as well. May God richly bless you!

    1. As I have learned more, especially in the last year, I realize that, while I believe it was good for me to get off Facebook, I’m not sure that all the feelings of terror and fear that I was feeling were actually from God. As I shared some about in, God has been teaching me not to rely on my feelings. For a number of years after the events in this post, Satan used feelings to confuse and hinder me. I would feel that I should do something, or that I should not do something–or feel both ways at the same time! I was controlled by feelings. Satan also used feelings of guilt to make me feel defeated, timid and fearful in my walk with God.

      Finally, by God’s grace, He showed me that these feelings were not coming from Him. He has been reinforcing that lesson to me ever since. It is freeing not to have to follow these “feelings” that I thought were from God and needed to be obeyed.

  4. How is this not going by feelings? This whole trying to figure out the Holy Spirit thing has me really really frustrated. You have mentioned not to go by feelings. Well, the Holy Spirit leads mostly by convictions. You have mentioned to follow the voice of God. Can I tell you how confusing that is? To just hear so many things and have no idea whether or not they are from God, so you feel like you have to do all of them? I don’t know..I just don’t feel like God meant for it to be so confusing.

    1. Maybe I didn’t explain well enough. In the original post, I was DEFINITELY going by feelings. Way, way too much. This was over seven years ago, and, thank God, I’ve learned a lot since then.

      God is not the Author of confusion. I completely understand where you’re coming from, because I’ve been there, too. I don’t have all the answers, but I have learned a couple things:

      1. If “God’s voice” brings you into bondage, it’s not God’s voice. (See Romans 8:14-15.)
      2. In order to know God’s voice, you have to know God.
      3. Sometimes, you will be mistaken. That’s okay. God understands.
      4. God loves and cares about His children. He doesn’t tell them what to do and then leave them to flounder and accidentally miss their way. When we make mistakes or misunderstand God’s leading, He will patiently guide His children back to the way they should go.

      For more on hearing God’s voice, definitely check out this blog post series:

      Blessings to you!

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