Psalm 128:1-2 - Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
There used to be a time in our nation's history that if someone called you a "God-fearing" man or woman, it was a high compliment. Today the phrase sounds not only archaic and anachronistic but laughable. "God-fearing," you say? Whose god and what are you fearing? If there is a "God," He must be pure love. Therefore, there is nothing to be feared.
Once upon a time in the premodern worldview, everybody knew that God reigned supreme. Yes, of course, He will judge the world. Facts are facts; therefore, live a God-fearing life. Then the 18th century Age of Enlightenment dawned, and modern man displaced fearing God with the power of human reason as supreme over any concept of God. Today in our postmodern world, many have given up on the hope that reason alone can establish any universal standard of justice for mankind. So what is left? The free-floating malaise of despair. Everyone is left to their own devices to meander through life choosing and defining their own values, their own realities and ethics. The premodern God that use to be became the modern God that could have been -- shaped and controlled through human reason -- only to discover that the postmodern God who now has been deemed to be altogether useless. How clever man has become! Fear God? I think not. Postmodern man fears only one thing. Have I made enough good choices to squeeze in the maximum meaning out of life before I die and dissolve back into the nothingness in the universe?
Holy Scripture has another viewpoint: Psalm 128:1 says, "Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways!" This is a statement of eternal reality. All those who fear the Lord shall enjoy the fruit of their labors with a multitude of blessings in this life. For those who don't fear the Lord -- who are lost in a myopic delusion of life-draining narcissism, who seek life's pleasures with no thought for tomorrow -- they shall discover the moment their souls are loosed from their bodies that the God they feared not in this life is now standing before them demanding an accounting.
It will not be a pleasant accounting.
The fear of God is more than just a special sense of awe or reverence. It is also a fear of sinning in the presence of the God who sees all. Proverbs 3:7-8 say, "Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, turn away from evil. It will be healing in your flesh and refreshment to your bones" Fear God? Why? Why turn away from any evil that appears to be pleasant to the flesh? In a word, love: our response to God's love for us. For example, can parents hold a newborn child in their arms and not be filled with overpowering love? Imagine you are the God-fearing parents of Jesus holding this newborn Child in your arms for the first time. Love overflows! Joy cascades from heaven! Now imagine your child, your newborn, all grown up ... hanging on a cross, brutally beaten, left to die. Your heart would be broken into a thousand pieces unable to live for a moment longer. But thanks be to God, the Babe of Bethlehem lives! Christ is risen! We are redeemed. Blessed is everyone who fears and loves the Lord in this way. This is the fear and incomprehensible love of God that saves your soul ... and mine.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, through the precious cross of Your dear Son, magnify Your grace in my life so that daily I walk worthy of the Gospel as a God-fearing saint before Your eyes. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Mark Schreiber.
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