The following is a part of our weekly devotional series, which is a companion to the 2013 Foursquare Life Journal. This week’s Bible reading comes from 2 Kings 25; 2 Chron. 36; Ps. 48 and 111; Jer. 40-44; Ezek. 17-32; and Rev. 7-13.
Remember when you first came to the Lord, were beckoned by His awesome love, shielded by His boundless grace and cradled by His everlasting arms? His divine affection and authority produced a sacred reverence in us, all the more because our loving Father dwells in unapproachable light, the Most High sovereign of fearsome might.
The phrase “God-fearing” may sound outdated to some ears, perhaps ringing disquieting echoes of coercive religious traditions threatening divine punishment. Yet the old saying has a solid biblical basis. In Psalm 111:10, the psalmist declared: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments” (NKJV).
When I find myself weary of well-doing or worn down by the attrition of life and ministry, it’s tempting to either deny or default to a defeated attitude. But invariably, the real source of my frustration is rooted in my confusion about the mind and heart of God on the matter. Returning to a place of awestruck worship, I’m reminded again of who God is and what He does. There the brilliant light of His truth shines on any misalignment in my life. Perceiving such misalignment—whether with Him, myself or my community—can be frightful and sometimes painful, but it’s always necessary.
True “fear of the Lord” shouldn’t induce fear to come honestly before God—quite the contrary, it rightly makes us afraid not to. There’s nothing God wants to do in or through any one of us that He can’t do. But if I won’t invite His will within me, I leave no alternative but for Him to do His will despite me. That’s a fearful thought!
The adversary and his allies—though formidable in spiritual warfare—are nevertheless defeated foes at the end of the day. The light of Jesus’ love within us more than outshines the depravation of this darkening world. Yet, our souls depend on a nourishing fear of God to maintain internal balance. No matter how long we’ve walked with the Lord, studying and teaching His ways, when we draw closest to His presence, we’re likely to say with the prophet Isaiah that we are yet people “of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5).
The good news is, as Isaiah also discovered, God feeds His people with purifying fire. The psalmist put it simply: “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion. He has given food to those who fear Him” (Ps. 111:4-5). Sometimes that food is a healthy portion of humble pie, but I’ve eaten enough to know that even that’s a refreshing dish when served by the King. What’s more, our Savior Himself drank a bitter cup as He walked in the fear of God, submitting to the admonition of the Father for the sake of the glory set before Him so that we might taste the sweeter cup of His precious promise.
As we partake of that glory of God, of all He is and does, He conforms our hearts to His ways and energizes the praise of our lips, so that we—confessing His Word with the family of faith and demonstrating His works to the whole world—can walk upright in the fear of the Lord, fearing nothing else.
By: Courtney Hall, National Church Education Coordinator for The Foursquare Church
Download the yearlong reading plan (PDF, 80 KB), or sign up for the full, online version of the Life Journal. To purchase a Life Journal for your own use, or to place a bulk order for church-wide use, visit FoursquareJournal.com. Learn more about Foursquare’s 2013 Life Journal project.