Journal Ps 119:97-120 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end…Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!
You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain. All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies.
My flesh trembles for fear of You, and I am afraid of your judgments.” Ps 119:112, 116-120
Observation: There is something about the Law of God, His Word, that the Psalmist holds especially important. Oh, wait: is it because in His Word we find life and in parallel we learn to fear God?
Analysis: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Prov 9:10)
Here are two statements that I will wager are highlighted in many copies of personal bibles. I know they have been in mine.
Wisdom and knowledge–Found in the “Fear of the LORD.” At least, if someone wanted Wisdom and/or Knowledge, they could find it in the Fear of the Lord.
Folks seemingly do not want that; they are much more inclined to focus on the “love” of the Lord. I wonder why that is?
A thought comes to mind: Is it because “love” as man conceives it is something positive and stable? Is it appealing? Sure, it is: who exalts or makes fear more important over love? What about bible verses pointing out to those who love God, and that God loves?
But, concerning fearing God (a verb, something that we are to do), is there a conflict? Is there a dichotomy? Is the Word of God double speaking? No, it isn’t. And further, it isn’t a choice, such as: “Fear God or Love God…uh, I guess I choose to Love God—leave that “fearing God” to someone else. They are soooo unenlightened.”
I think of it this way: Because, putting aside my being redeemed, born again, I am ate up with sin in my inward parts, Holy Judgment is still my lot at the end of my days. It is my confession in faith that Jesus died for me, became the propitiation for my sin, that saves me from God’s Holy and Righteous Wrath. That is the meaning behind “holding my confession until the End.”
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful…as you see the Day drawing near.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the Truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a tearful expectation of judgment… “(Heb 10:23-24 and v26-27)
Even the 24 elders before the Throne fell on their face and worshipped. (Rev 4:10) To be sure, they also sang and played harps and threw their accumulated crowns at His Feet, saying, “Only You are worthy, O God, O Lamb.”
It is hard in my own skin to develop a healthy, robust, biblical Fear of God without asking God to make it so in my heart. And to do that, I must intentionally INCLINE my mind to his Testimonies—read and study my backside off and hang around people who are doing the same.
In the same way that God’s character is equally Joy and Wrath (just to name two), God is doing the same in us, conforming us to the image of the Son. (Ro 8:29)
Prayer: Father, thanks for giving me the opportunity to write about You again. It is declaring You to the nations that is most important for in You is the Gospel.