Journal Entry // April 11, 2021
Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!Psalm 112:1 ESV
This is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). The fear of the Lord always sounds like such a negative state to be in a relationship. We don’t like to think about fear being a part of a loving relationship, but it is probably more due to our lack of understanding of what fear means in a loving relationship.
When I see ‘fear the Lord’ I call to mind the image of me cowering on the ground before an unjust, uncaring, malevolent enemy. But that is obviously not what is meant by the phrase. Initially, I like to think about the ‘fear of the Lord’ much like a parent child relationship, where there is genuine love between father and son, but there is a healthy fear of disappointment in breaking family rules and receiving discipline and punishment. There is a healthy fear of consequences coupled with a healthy fear of letting down this loving authority figure and leader in the family.
I think this is true in a sense with our relationship to God, this verse speaks of something more. The second part of the verse expounds on what it means to ‘fear the Lord’ when it tells us that this fear is worked out with Great Delight in His Commandments. An unhealthy fear is based on the negativity of the commands. What is the punishment or the disappointment in failure. But the ‘fear of the Lord’ that is the beginning of wisdom is focused on the positive. Wisdom develops in my life as I move from seeing the commands as a limitation on my freedom or withholding some pleasure to a place that understands the commands are there for not only my protection, but to bring glory to the Lord. That my Father receives glory through my obedience and trust.
So wisdom is cultivating delight in my heart through a faithful obedience to the commands of God with joy and thanksgiving. When I ‘fear the Lord,’ I am delighting in the Lord. I greatly delight to be obedient. I learn obedience and don’t shy away from the trials and adversity. I find strength in the One whom ‘I fear’. And through this I find the gentle, gracious, mercy of the Lord upon me. Though he works in my heart to drive out sin and darkness, he does so in love. And what seems painful and difficult is a tremendous mercy and blessing for he is preparing me for heaven. To be present with him at all times.
I want to be like David in so many ways. I want to delight in following the law of God. I want to have a humble repentant heart. I want to be known as a man that cultivates delight in the presence of the Lord. I want to let my failures drive me to Jesus and his loving mercy and grace. I want to know a life where I fight and battle with sin in my heart, not despairing not complaining, not coveting another’s journey. But a humble and gentle spirit that enjoys God’s word lived through obedience, simply to please his loving Father.