The Fear of God
Father God, I reach out to You, acknowledging Your greatness, asking for more of You in my life.
Read Psalm 36:1-12
 For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“A basic definition for spiritual growth is to be God-directed not self-directed” (Henry Cloud).
I was once in a Bible study with a man who had a big problem with the “fear of God” (1). For him it conjured up a mean, angry deity who required humans to cower: fear God…or else! But a biblical understanding of the fear of God has more to do with respect, awe, obedience and love for the maker of heaven and earth. That’s the kind of fear David is talking about in this psalm, and his point is that when we unhook ourselves from it we drift into all kinds of sin patterns (2-4). Sin is a foreign concept in our modern world; anyone who dares to talk about it is seen as judgmental and offensive. But sin happens. Read the newspaper, or examine your own life, and you’ll have all the proof you need. David points out that when human beings think too much of themselves, they lose the ability even to recognize sin (2). That’s a warning for the world, and the church.
In v. 5 the psalm turns from “the sinfulness of the wicked” (1) to the character of God (5,6). David underscores four aspects of God’s nature–love, faithfulness, righteousness and justice–which echo the core values that Jesus himself preached. It reminds us that God has long had a blueprint for his Kingdom and, as we saw yesterday, some day he will bring it to a wonderful conclusion.
David ends by asking for a show of God’s love, and the best way to get it is to put off sin and put on God’s character (10; Eph. 4:22-24); we call that process spiritual formation. David understood that as we cultivate an upright heart we will enjoy abundant blessing (8,9). That’s what a healthy fear of God will do for us.
How could you express a healthy fear of God in your prayer time today? And in your actions this week?
Lord, I want to cultivate a healthy relationship with You. Empower me to put away sin and embrace Your Lordship.
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