Friday, July 12, 2019

No Fear in the Fear of the Lord

O fear the LORD, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.  Psalms 34:9-11
The righteous cry, and the LORD hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.  Psalms 34:17-22

It may come as a surprise for you to find that the Hebrew language has no word for "religion" in its vocabulary. Its closest term is an expression – "the fear of the Lord." And the fear of the Lord is hardly reducible to the trappings of religion. It is personal desperation before a Holy God. It is not the cringing, groveling fear that God will swat you like a gnat. It is the "fear" of unworthiness and unacceptability. 
It is the "fear" that we have tried too much of our own goodness and are too enmeshed in our religious rituals to really trust him – and him alone – to rescue us from death and bring us to heaven. God camps hosts of his ministering angels around such a person. He will meet every need in their lives. He provides a safe place!
What’s the matter with our world? Echoing Psalm 36:1, Paul said the problem with our fallen, idolatrous, self-centered world can be summed up this way: "There is no fear of God before their eyes."Romans 3:18  
Did he say there was no – or not enough – religion? Did he say there weren’t enough churches? No, if you had asked him, he likely would have said there was too much of both!  Religion and churches tend to try to do too much and, in turn, expect and need too little from God. 
Against the arrogance of what we can do and offer to God, those who fear the Lord know there is nothing we can do or offer to him that would count for anything in setting right what we have spoiled. As the remainder of the psalm affirms, the one who fears God and "the righteous" are one and the same person. The world has been stood on its head! 
The righteous person is not the good, upright, and admired man or woman but the one who will "cry out" (vs.16b,17) for his blessings. Indeed, the "righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." v.19 He isn’t above failures, troubles, and sin. It is simply that he knows what to do with them. Brokenhearted over his sin and crushed in spirit from his troubles (v.18), he cries out and is responded to by the merciful goodness of God. He has found the one and only safe place in the cosmos. He has found the God of all Grace!
If you are calling out for help today, he is listening. Run to the Safe Place!

Scripture to Claim:
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.  Psalm 34:1-3

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