The beauty of the fear of the Lord

Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing. (Ps. 34:9)

We don’t like that word “fear.” We’ve let it be stolen by our weak definitions. We can try “revere” the Lord… but what does THAT mean?

The concept of truly bowing to the One who is “wholly other” and acknowledge that HE is God… and WE are not… has become a foreign thought. We are so into ourselves and how we think, then God must be more… well… like us. 

We have made God into our own images. Small, tiny images… and then called it “great.”

Don’t understand the “atonement” or the “wrath of God?” Turn it into “cosmic child abuse” and feel better!

Think that word “sin” is just a bit to harsh? Then try the word “issues” and move on.

We have moved away from an understanding of “fear of the Lord,” where we fall to our knees in worship because he is GOD. He is supreme. He is majestic. He is great and worthy of all our attention… and obedience. We willingly submit to his call and his way. We long to follow his way because following him doesn’t diminish us, it fulfills us.

We have diminished God, made him into our image and jettisoned the “fear” of the Lord. And as a result, we move from “lacking nothing” to having nothing. 

The tragedy is when we get to that place, we most likely don’t even recognize it. We’ve become our own little god… and that feels pretty good.

Lord, we lack. Without you, without your rule and reign in our lives, we are so diminished. With you, we have ALL we need. But that must come with sacrifice and surrender on our part. You are a GOOD God! You provide all we need and it is abundant. Move us away from our tiny little desires and bring us into the abundance of your Kingdom and presence. We need you. Let us take you as YOU are, and not as the tiny image we have in our minds. Heal us and bring us into Kingdom power. Amen. 

 

The beauty of a jealous God

Deuteronomy 6

Obedience and fear are huge words and growing up they always sounded “demanding.” It’s only in the last few years that I’ve really come to understand them as loving and what God is calling Israel to is more like a marriage covenant than some list of demands.

Obedience and fear are “demanding” in that there ARE rigors of a covenant relationship. Marriage should be a covenant relationship and even those words are helpful in describing the deep covenant underpinnings that will truly keep two people together.

We have a God who is incredibly jealous for us. He is consumed with passion for us. All he asks is a return on that attention. Instead, we are consumed too often with ourselves and what this “wonderful” God can instead do for us. 

Deuteronomy 6 is a wonderful passage of delight. It is a call to obedience, but who would NOT want to obey a loving God who provides all we need for abundant living? Too often we want abundant living without the obligation. It just won’t work that way.

Why should I not be consumed with knowing this loving God?

Why should I not be consumed with the written Word, longing to understand the most obvious place to know this loving God? Why would I want to explain away this treasure? Why would I hide this written Word from others, or from my children? Why would I NOT be consumed with the Word and talking about it all time?

We are so consumed with so many other things and we do not mind talking about them! We talk about our favorite shows, movies, music, people… and we talk about what we hate in those categories as well. And it’s normal. 

But start talking about what you’re learning in the written Word and you get, “Oh, there you go again! Being condemning! Being ‘holier than thou!'”

No.

It’s about being consumed with a Savior who is consumed with passion for me. I am longing to know him as he knows me.

This jealous God is a beautiful God and I want to know him!

 

The cost of radical love for God

Over and over you will find this type of sentence in the Scriptures:

Let those who love the Lord hate evil.

I simply do not have enough trembling in my life. Trembling before an incredible God, not out of sheer terror, but out of sheer love and awe and respect. I do not have enough trembling in my life where I come before God, knowing that if I truly understand who he is… when I pray in complete reverence that he is due, and should he decide to move in my favor, the hills melt like wax before him. 

And I should tremble at that thought because if hills melt like that… who am I to be in his presence?

We have lost our hatred of evil… what GOD hates. And, friends, there are things God hates.

I need his mind. His heart. And he is so willing to gift those things to me.

I need more trembling in my life.

Fear of the Lord is the START of Wisdom

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise. (Psalm 111:10, NIV)

Holy respect is always a good start. It keeps me from thinking of God as my “beer buddy,” or some other inane term we like to think of when we want God to just like us and not say too much about how we are doing in our lives.

When I start with holy fear, I am more capable of settling down so I can actually know God. Beginning with holy fear, I can step into wisdom. It is a starting point.

But if God is only my “best bud,” I won’t even be at the starting point of wisdom.

Blessings! Power! Abundance! All YOURS!

Imagine a life where you have wealth and satisfaction! Your children are serving God! Your enemies can’t win! You build a legacy!

All YOURS!

There is something in me that now wants to say, “All yours for a seed faith offering… operators are standing by!”

But audacious claims like that can happen. They can feed certain desires in our own lives.

Yet… in another sense… there are some incredibly bold claims for those living in the Kingdom.

Psalm 112 gives some bold claims.

But you have to know where it STARTS:

Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands. (Ps. 112:1, NIV)

It’s HIS agenda. It’s HIS Kingdom. When I am delighting in his word and longing to do his will, I will see his abundance flow into my life. The abundance isn’t on my terms, and it is not according to my definition. It’s his call all the way. Yet, why should I settle for anything less?

Let me walk in the fear of the Lord!