08
Jul
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Fear of the Lord by Deacon Blue

“Fear of the Lord” is a comment that pops up pretty frequently in the Bible, and in some cases, I think it is a reminder that as wonderful as God is, He isn’t without his tough-guy aspects and He is someone we need to respect at times, and not just because of what He gives us but also because of what we lose if we aren’t on His side.

But we aren’t supposed to live our lives in fear if we are born again. We are supposed to be freed from the fear of eternal death and free from being absolute slaves to sin and free from some many other grim things.

So, what does “Fear of the Lord” mean if it doesn’t always mean we are supposed to be shaking with trepidation? To a certain extent, the “fear” is merely another way of saying “respect.” But there is something else to consider as well, something that my father-in-law taught many times from the pulpit.

And that is the notion that “Fear of the Lord” is actually a specific set of things we are supposed to do to show our respect and love for God and to open ourselves up more fully to His blessings. And those instructions are found in Psalm 34 in the Bible, verses 11-14 (this is a really nice psalm overall, with plenty of other good things in it; it’s one of the few that I have highlighted in my Bible):

Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life and loves length of days that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Pretty basic, eh? It sort of brings me back to how Jesus summed up our obedience to God in the teaching that the two greatest commandments were: Love God with your whole heart and love your neighbors as you love yourselves. Likewise, this section of Psalm 34 sums up the key points of how we are to obey all 10 commandments and keep in good graces with God. No, failure to meet all these points does not mean God is going to just cut you off for earthly blessings or revoke your salvation if have accepted Jesus as lord and savior. But it does mean that you will be putting distance between you and God and hindering your blessings or making it hard for you to connect enough with the Holy Spirit to be fully effective and fully comforted on this world.

So, what do verses 11-14 tell us specifically? Four key points of obedience. So, “Fear of the Lord” is:

Keep your tongue from evil – This one we often violate with things like gossip. Yeah, God doesn’t like gossiping. Accept it. We aren’t supposed to talk trash about others. Speaking evil with your tongue also is commonly done when we say things like “nothing is ever going to go right in my life” or “I’m a failure.” The Bible tells us that the tongue is a powerful and dangerous organ because the words we speak can carry power, in a way that is a shadow of God’s ability to speak things into being (see James chapter 3, verses 1-12 for one take on this thought). If we talk of being failures or never being able to change, chances are we will bring such realities upon us. Positive speech and optimistic thoughts don’t guarantee things will be good, but chances are a lot better than we will see good things if we don’t speak ill of our lives.

Keep your lips from speaking deceit – Don’t lie. One of the primary character traits of Satan is that he is a liar, a deceiver, a trickster. Don’t emulate Satan; emulate Jesus. Speak truth.

Depart from evil and do good – I don’t really have to explain this one, do I? I know it’s a broad catch-all category, but it bears remembering and reminding ourselves that we are supposed to turn away from sin. We’re too weak to always avoid it, but we shouldn’t chase eagerly after it.

Seek peace and pursue it – Don’t embrace conflict. Sometimes, conflict must come and sometimes we must fight whether in word or with fists or otherwise. But that should be the minority of cases. The very great minority. Peace is almost always the best way, even if you end up feeling some pain by pursuing peace. Turn the other cheek, as Jesus told us. Sometimes, we run out of cheeks, but we can’t go running into aggressive mode from the starting gate. We have to go for all the peaceful options first, to the extent that we are able to do so without putting other people in harm’s way.

(Credit: By Ian Britton, from www.freefoto.com)

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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