2007-06-24 - Fear and Reverence
Psalm 33:8, 9, "Let all the Earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm."
Whenever we ask someone to do something, or whenever someone says that they will do something, there is always the statement that such and such will be done, and then there is the actual doing. We all know, from experience, that someone saying they will do something does not necessarily mean that they will actually do it. The saying and the doing are two different things. This is not so with God. The saying is the doing. He speaks, and it is done. There is no difference between the Lord saying He will accomplish something, and the actual accomplishment of the task. He says it, and it is done. It is not only done, but when the Lord speaks, what He speaks stands firm. He speaks, and the matter is settled. He brings forth His will with His very utterance. This essentially what verse 9 is telling us in the Psalm, but having looked into the second verse, how much clearer is verse 8 to us, "Let all the Earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him."
The Lord certainly is worthy of reverence. As we just said above, He simply speaks, and what He speaks is reality. The omnipotence of God (He is all-powerful) settles any matter. He speaks, and the issue is settled. At a word from the Lord, any matter is cleared up. This is one reason why we must know His Word. We must know the Bible, to know God's Word to us. To neglect the Bible is to abandon His revelation to us. In His Word, He tells us both who He is and what His will for us is in our lives. Our reverence for the Lord is proper and most necessary, but that is really a matter of the heart. Practically, one of the ways we show our reverence for the Lord is by making His revelation to us in His Word our first priority. It is there that He tells us His will for us, and if we really worship Him, we do so in our lives by following what He says in His Word.
In addition, we fear the Lord. The follower of Christ does not fear the Lord in a cowering manner that lives in an endless dread that God is going to "get" him/her. The follower of Christ fears the Lord in a very different manner. We fear the Lord with a holy fear. He speaks, and whatever He speaks is done. We would be right to have a fearful reverence of such power. However, our proper response is not really fearful reverence, but trusting fearful reverence. The follower of Christ looks upon the loving, forgiving, merciful God - and fears offending Him by our sin. Our fear is one that directs us to live in holiness, not in terror. We cringe at the thought of transgressing the perfect law of the Lord, because of the love we have for Him. Our love is simply a response to the love He has bestowed upon us; for the forgiven follower of Christ, that response is like a reflex. The fear we feel is more that we fear failing to live faithfully unto our profession of faith in Christ's atonement. We fear His displeasure, because we have known His love.
No matter where you are on the highway of faith, you need never live in fear of coming to the Lord for forgiveness. It is true that what He speaks becomes reality, and one of the things He has said is that everyone who believes is forgiven (Acts 13:39). Confession of sin, either for the first time, or for sins we commit after coming to initial faith in Christ (1 John 1), allows us to no longer fear the Lord as a judge for our sin. We rather become fearful of transgressing His will again, and seek to live in the newness of life that is found and given in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria,