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Thursday, August 9, 2012

How Does One Fear the Lord?

Today's Reading:
  • Deuteronomy 9:1 - 10:22
  • Proverbs 12:2 - 3
Read Bible Passages Online

Deuteronomy 9:1 - 10:22 
Moses continues his monologue to the people of Israel.  Now that I think about it, this monologue makes a lot of sense.  Moses is addressing the second generation of Israelites.  Because the time is near for the people to enter the promised land, that means that almost everyone from the rebellious first generation has already died. 

It must have been odd for this generation.  They grew up in the wilderness, being led (quite literally) on a journey by the Lord.  They might not have realized the severity and oppression of the situation they had left.  They also might not have realized how rebellious their parents had been throughout the entire journey. 

So Moses continued to tell them their history.  He told them of their many rebellions.  He told them how he interceded on their behalf when the Lord was so angry that he was going to destroy them all.  Moses told them that it wasn't because they were good that the Lord was giving them this land - instead it was because the people in the land were more wicked than they, and the Lord had promised plentiful land to their ancestors. 

Moses concludes by giving them guidelines to live by.  In verses 10:12 - 13, Moses outlines what God requires from his people.  These four things are:
  1. Fear the Lord
  2. Live in a way that pleases the Lord
  3. Love and serve the Lord with all your heart and soul
  4. Always obey the Lord's commands
Looking at those four things, there is one that leaves me with a bit of wonder.  What does it mean to fear the Lord?  Should I literally be afraid of Him?  I don't think that would be possible for me -- I love and trust the Lord too much to literally be afraid of Him.  It doesn't seem that the words trust and fear go together.  Fear and obey, maybe -- obeying out of fear.  But trust -- how can one trust someone they are afraid of?

My study bible notes that fearing the Lord meant that the Lord "wanted his people to recognize their finiteness and unworthiness in His divine presence".  That does make more sense to me.  The people who lived in the presence of the Lord remained fearful of entering His presence if they were not purified, for the holiness of the Lord would instantly kill them. 

Every single one of us is completely unworthy of the Lord's salvation for us.  We are unworthy of His forgiveness.  Yet the Lord still loves us, and the Lord still provides for us!  It's truly amazing.

So what does it mean to fear the Lord?  Honestly, I don't know yet.  I'll have to keep reading, and see what the Word of God says to me about this topic in the future.

Proverbs 12:2 - 3
2  The Lord approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness.
3  Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots.
 So what's worse than doing something wicked?  Planning it!  Have you ever planned something -- an event, an outing, a night out -- where you knew that you were planning to be sinful that night?  How that must anger the Lord when we plan in advance to sin. 

I find the second verse interesting -- I would not have linked wickedness and instability together on my own.  But it makes sense.  I am to handle each and every thing thrown at me in life better because I have the Lord in my life.  I know that the Lord is always there for me, no matter how dire the situation, no matter what I am going through.  He is with me.  He is my stability.  My roots are planted in Him, and they can't be up-heaved.  The Lord and my salvation are my stability.  Thank you, Lord!

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