Something to Fear

We’ve Something to Fear

“Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
United my heart to fear Your name” (Ps. 86:11).

In the first two articles of this study we looked at each line of this great verse from the Psalms. The ways and the truth of God must be taught to us by Him, while humility is to be practiced by us. Our hearts are also to be united—we look to God alone as the one to devote our hearts to. When we are inundated with multiple ways, truths and lives to live, Jesus steps in and says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

It is the unity of our hearts in particular that leads to one of the most important aspects of the Christian faith; we are told to fear God’s name. Understand that it is not an irrational fear for the sake of fear itself. Rather, it is a genuine respect for God that drives you to His feet. When we fear the Lord, we do not need to fear anything else. When we practice this kind of fear, we are then compelled to action.

A great example of this can be seen in the commissioning of Isaiah. Chapter six of Isaiah gives the account of a vision he was given of God. He “saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.” He also witnessed amazing Seraphim flying around and giving praise to God. Isaiah’s response was: “Woe is me, for I am ruined!” He went on to show remorse for not only his own shortcomings, but the entire nation’s too.

This fear of God was not a solitary emotional scene which quickly died away. The Lord asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah, then, responded, “Here am I. Send me!” It was obvious that his fear of the Lord was more than a show on the surface, but went to very core of his being. He saw God as large, so he wanted to do large things for Him.

There is an interesting, and sometimes confusing, tension that arises from our study of the Bible regarding our relationship with God. We are to have a fear of God that places him in a proper place far above us. Yet, we are also reminded that He walks with us and sticks closer than a brother. How do we reconcile these two—that God is near and far, close and distant, intimate yet incomprehensible?

My wife and I recently saw the movie adaptation of C. S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian. One statement was made that was truly powerful, and one that I remembered vividly from my own reading of that book. Lucy, had seen a flash of the lion, Aslan, but no one else believed her. Later, she met him face to face.


“Aslan, Aslan, Dear Aslan,” sobbed Lucy. “At last.”
The great beast rolled over on his side so that Lucy fell, half sitting and half lying between his front paws. He bent forward and just touched her nose with his tongue. His warm breath came all round her. She gazed up into the large, wise face.
“Welcome, child,” he said.
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”


W
hat is so great about this scene is the closeness she shares with the lion, who represents Jesus Christ. But, it is an intimacy that is laced with acknowledgement that He is “bigger.” I guess there is really no way to reconcile God being close and holy; we just recognize that this is so and remain wary of going to the extremes. We cannot view the Lord as a holy distant God who cannot possibly be known, as many of the philosophers throughout history felt. Also, we must beware of seeing God as merely a buddy, ignoring the fact that He is holy.

As we grow in Christ, we should naturally view God as being larger than we previously saw Him. Conversely, the more sanctified we become, the more we realize how short we fall, and that we need the Lord in an even greater capacity. Fearing God consists of simultaneous reverence and humility. This may be somewhat confusing to sort out, but remember, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

What is interesting about David’s prayer is that he does not say, “United my heart to fear You.” Instead, he talks about revering God’s name. A name indicates recognition of someone—in God’s case, it is a designation of His power that also brings respect. We are taken beyond the fear of God to the point that even the mere mention of the Lord brings us shivers as we contemplate his awesomeness.

David’s verse seems to reveal a cycle in which we are to be constantly engaged. The only way we can learn of God’s ways, his truth, or have a united heart is from Him. He is the great initiator.  When he has bestowed these gifts of knowledge and unity upon us, we learn to fear His name. Through that fear—the correct view of the awesomeness of God—we have a greater capacity to receive truth, to learn more of his ways, and to grow with a united heart, free from the division that the enemy intends. Let us pray that this cycle continues.

 

I pray, as always, that God may richly bless you in ways that further His Kingdom.