Delighting in the Awesome Fear of the Lord

Instructing a Child's HeartHappiness, trust in others, joy, and peace come with the fear of the Lord.  This sounds like a contradiction. How can peace come from fear? Because the fear of God means that we grasp his greatness and holiness and are humbled in awe of all that he is and all that we are not. This leads to a holy, healthy fear that orders our lives in joy and peace.

The Psalms are built on one great foundational truth: God rules over the earth. Blessed or joyful is the man who turns away from the world and delights in the law and fear of God. The Psalms also teach that the appropriate fear of God must always come first. The fear of the Lord brings wisdom and joy. Wisdom and joy are two good things that you want for your children! Psalms 111 & 112 state the blessings of the fear of the Lord as leading to wisdom, joy, and delight in obeying God. When God is recognized for who he is then life is at last understandable.

Notice how Psalm 111 ends and Psalm 112 begins:

The fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
Praise him forever! (Psalm 111:10)

Praise the Lord!
How joyful are those who fear the Lord
and delight in obeying his commands. (Psalm 112:1)

This is a powerful, intentional literary connection! Security, trust, wisdom, joy all start with the fear of the Lord. Negatively, Paul quotes Psalm 36 in Romans 3 when he describes the wicked as having “no fear of God before their eyes.”

What does this look like in everyday life?

The Lord speaks in the explosion of thunder. Rain comes to end a drought or to bring a great flood. A rainbow that graces the sky is the promise of God. When proclaiming the gospel Paul says it is God who fills hearts with joy.  He also says the places you live and even your next breath are determined by God. Teach your children the significance of these daily events.

All of life offers opportunities to be in awe and the fear of God, both for you and for your children. But only if you take advantage of them! These things cry out for the awe and power of God to be recognized in everyday life. Once God is seen as this powerful and this involved in life he can be feared and then followed with joy and delight, as the psalmist says. This is what drives us to embrace the gospel. It is our only hope as we stand before a holy, awesome God. Model this for your children: Wisdom, joy, and delight all flow from the fear of the Lord!

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