Sunday, November 16, 2014

Should we "fear" God?

Child looking up, holding parent's hand
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 128:1-6

"Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the Lord." Psalm 128:5

What a picture of domestic bliss Psalm 128 paints;
- A man whose honest work supports his life.
- A good marriage, the husband like a gardener nourishing and doting on the beautiful and fruitful vine—his wife—who lives in the "heart" of his home.
- A family of children—"olive plants"—that staple tree of Israel that provided oil, olives shade, the very symbol of blessing and plenty.
- A family that carries on into generations with their patriarch living long enough to see his grandchildren.

All this on one condition: "Blessed is every one who fears the Lord …. Behold thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord" Psalm 128:1,5.

What does it mean to "fear" the Lord?

[Fears - yare  means to fear, be afraid of, stand in awe of, reverence, honour, respect.]

What does this fear/reverence/respect for God look like?

In a way it looks a lot like a child's good relationship with parents. When I was little, I knew I could only push it so far before the "rod" would come out. I respected my parent's orders because I knew that they would be enforced and that was an occasion to fear!

But the relationship was different than master / slave because my parents loved me and I loved them. Thus I wanted to please them too. I yearned for their "You did a great job," and hated to hear, "I'm disappointed in you." One sure way to evoke the latter was to ignore or violate the life principles by which they had raised me.

Our fear of God is similar.

  • We obey, knowing there will be consequences if we don't.
  • But we also love Him and yearn to hear his "Well done." To achieve that we value the same things God values and translate our mental assent into living out those things in what we allow ourselves to think about, love, say, how we relate to our family, church family, neighbours, enemies, what we do with our possessions etc.

But how do we know the things that God values?

They're scattered throughout the Bible and distilled in passages like 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Galatians 5:16-20; Philippians 4:6-8.

This living in the fear of God—it's a project that takes a lifetime!

Dear God please help me to relate to You in a realistic way that includes fear, respect, and awe. Help me to study and understand what pleases You so I will live it out and someday hear your "Well done." Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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