Wednesday, March 7, 2012
The Fear of the Lord
"Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." Psalm 34:9-10
What does it mean to fear the Lord? The fear of the Lord is submission to our Lord God. It is absolute surrender in will, mind and desires to our Lord God. A result of our submission is that we obey our Lord. Here, David says that a person who fears the Lord lacks nothing. Isn't that a wonderful promise? Even more, Proverbs 9:10 promises the blessing “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Those who walk in the fear of the Lord are not untouched by trouble but will rise above it. Although evil happens to good people, this general guideline is that if we walk with God faithfully, we will have a peaceful and contented life.
So David says, “Come, children, let me teach you a subject of extreme importance: the fear of the Lord.” Do universities teach you the fear of the Lord? I understand Harvard, founded as a school for training ministers of the gospel, used to do this but no longer do so. A number of sophisticated universities in the US and Europe used to teach the Bible and they used to teach about the fear of the Lord, but they do not do so now. Do churches teach this profound subject called fear of the Lord? Not all. Many churches say, "Come and be entertained. We have great programs that show how God loves you. Our sermons are getting smaller and lighter. Come and be happy.” That is not teaching the fear of the Lord.
Many claim to belong to the Lord. Yet how many confess that they fear him? To fear the Lord does not mean that we must be fearful and cringe before the Lord in fear that he will strike us dead. Rather, because he loves us unconditionally, we have great veneration of him and fear grieving him. A healthy fear of our Lord leads us to honour him above everything else. We demonstrate the fear of the Lord in our humble attitude and our genuine worship of him. We can only have the good life if we truly learn what it means to fear the Lord. The Bible always connects the fear of the Lord with obedience of him. So in Psalm 34, David is telling us that if we truly fear the Lord, then we will not lie but do good, turn from evil and promote peace (vv13-14). It is more than just sitting quietly in a pew to hear God's message and then singing a few songs. It involves obeying God in the way we speak and in the way we treat others.
That is the good life. The good life is not about self-fulfillment but walking faithfully with God according to the principles of his Kingdom. It is no point talking about how one’s own money, health, power, influence, position, etc., brings about the good life. It does not. The media has many stories about rich and powerful people of the world who are not having a good life. The good life is lived by those who have learned the fear of the Lord. “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter” ― Pastor Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God