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Redefining Fear

Weekly Devotionals

Redefining Fear

10 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

I think for a number of us, when we talk about the “fear of the Lord”, it generates feelings of apprehension rather than gratitude or love. Perhaps you came from a community where a theology of wrath superseded the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ that the gospel writers pointed to in Scripture. Maybe you feel overwhelmed that the God of the universe is so large that you feel insignificant and worthless or that God will accuse you like some unbending prosecutor. It’s possible you might even feel crippled because you sense as though God will send you to hell for eternity. I want to acknowledge and say that such thoughts are likely of the devil and anxiety like that will actually lead to the end of wisdom in your life.

The end of Psalm 111 concludes with the proclamation that the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but I want to place your attention on all that was said before this. The psalm opens “Praise the Lord, I extol the Lord with all my heart.” It goes further and says “He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.” Later it says, “The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.” And then right before our text about the fear of the Lord, it says “He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever – holy and awesome is his name.” THIS my friends, is what leads to THE FEAR OF THE LORD – when we notice that THIS is who God IS, it’s at that point where the fear of the Lord is discovered. We read that he is COMPASSIONATE and GRACIOUS, FAITHFUL and JUST. When we see that God does THESE things, the fear of the Lord gives birth in us. That he PROVIDES for our needs, KEEPS his promises, REDEEMS his people. Ultimately, this holy fear of the Lord produces in us a heart of gratitude where we sing, just as the psalmist, “Praise the Lord! I will extol the Lord with all my heart.” When we look at Jesus’ death on the cross and the sacrifice that he made to release us from the misery and judgement of sin and death, we discover all these things in its highest forms. There might be some reading today who have never taken that step to fear the Lord like this, to trust in a God that doesn’t see you as insignificant or worthless. Rather, the God of the cosmos came on a rescue mission and gifted us with a message of love and forgiveness through his son, Jesus, opening up an invitation to all of us to join in the table of God and eat food that sustains and nourishes us like no other.

Blessings.