Fearing the Lord

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Psalm 76:7
M’Cheyne Text: Ezekiel 27; Psalm 75-76

Culture: Where is the fear of the Lord in our culture? On Family Guy, God appears as a recurring character that impresses young female admirers with magic tricks. John Lennon sang, “Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try.” In Dogma, God is played by Alanis Morissette. Joan Osborne sings, “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us?”

Storm: The Psalmist sang of the goodness of the fear of the Lord: “You are to be feared! Who can stand before you when once your anger is roused?” [1] Yet how does this work? Aren’t we supposed to hope in God, not fear Him? John Piper explains, “Suppose you were exploring an unknown glacier in the north of Greenland in the dead of winter. Just as you reach a sheer cliff with a spectacular view of miles and miles of jagged ice and snow mountains, a terrible storm breaks in. The wind is so strong that the fear rises that it might blow you and your party right over the cliff. But in the midst of it, you discover a cleft in the ice where you can hide. Here you feel secure, but the awesome might of the storm rages on and you watch it with a kind of trembling pleasure as it surges out across the distant glaciers” [2].

Cleft: “At first,” he continues, “there was the fear that this terrible storm and awesome terrain might claim your life. But then you found a refuge and gained the hope that you would be safe. But not everything in the feeling called ‘fear’ vanished. Only the life-threatening part. There remained the trembling, the awe, the wonder, the feeling that you would never want to tangle with such a storm or be the adversary of such a power. And so it is with God … Hope turns fear into a happy trembling and peaceful wonder; and fear takes everything trivial out of hope and makes it serious. The terrors of God make the pleasures of His people intense” [3].

Prayer: Lord, Through the sacrifice of Christ, which cleanses us from sin, we find boldness to run to you, not from you. We hide from your anger within the safety of your embrace. In Christ, our worst storm has become our greatest comfort. Yet make us fear you in awe and wonder so that we cling to you, our refuge. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Psalm 76:7 ESV | [2] John Piper. “The Pleasure of God in Those Who Hope in His Love.” 15 March 1987. | [3] Id.

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