"There must ever be a holy fear mixed with the Christian's joy...fear without joy, is torment; and joy, without fear, would be presumption...'Blessed are all they that put their thrust in Him'...Do we trust Him? Our faith may be slender as a spider's thread, but if it be real, we are in our measure blessed...'Lord, increase our faith.'" - Charles Spurgeon, Commentary on the Psalms
The Lord has been teaching me a lot about fear, holy fear, lately. I don't think it was something I ever really thought about, at least correctly, too much. I knew the song from Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Lord is understanding." So, most obviously, I was quite unwise in not considering it too much. I loved the Lord and I trusted Him - why would I fear. The Bible, on so many occasions says that the Christian need not fear, because simply the Lord's name is a strong refuge (Prov. 18:10) and the victory is ours against Satan and his whiles (Eph. 6). I have realized, though, that those who fear the Lord little, have a little God!
God is huge. He is awesome - in every sense of the word! He is holy, and will not be sinned against. I have been reading through the Old Testament, and have seen the laws and ordinances God laid out for the children of Israel. His reasoning behind each of them compares not at all with the statement He consistently makes: "for I am the Lord your God." Done. End of story. He is God - what He does is good because He does it. His actions are just because He is just. He is the definition for those words. His love is great. His wrath is powerful. He is God!
"And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear Him whom, after He has killed, has the power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!" Luke 12:4-5
I think we/Me, as believers, tend to think so much about what the world thinks in our approach to the Gospel, seeing it as everything to us, but awkard or possibly inconvenient to share with a coworker or neighbor. And, we get so comfortable just living for the Lord in our fellowhip groups... But when I sit back and really think of, dwell on the character of my God - my eyes well up with tears, my heartbeat increases, and I even get a little sweaty. I can only help but cry out like the tax collector, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" (Lk. 18:13). Consider God's truth. His attributes. the Cross. Salvation, Election, Sin...Heaven and Hell - eternity! My mind cannot comprehend all of that, let alone be unaffected by it.
In light of all of that, GRACE! I feel like I always come back to grace. My whole life is but God's grace. I cannot explain it, and I surely do not deserve it.
Now, back to Spurgeon: fear and joy. They seem an unlikely pair. (at least to me)
Psalms 2:11, 12b, "Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling...Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him."
To fear the Lord, alone, is terrifying. Without the joy of His grace and mercy and love there is only His holiness of which I fall so desperately short and His eternal wrath is all that there is after this earth. On the other hand, joy, alone, allows me to presume upon the Lord and abuse His grace. Forget that my life is His, bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20) So, we serve Him, because He is God and He is worthy! We rejoice in Him, because despite His awesomeness and our undeservedness, He loved us first! It is vital that as believers we look to our Savior as God! Without Him we will surely perish. By His grace, we are saved. It is a dreadfully wonderful concept
"Blessed are all those who put their thrust in Him." - Lord, increase our faith!