The Fear of the Lord

I only thought I was going to die by accident a few times in life. I was just too close to something dangerous, and I thought if I messed it up it would be all over. One time I was rock climbing with a friend at the Gunks near New Paltz, New York. Another time I was learning how to do saving rolls in a Kayak in a river near my house in Connecticut. Another one was hiking in the Catskill Mountains, on the Devil’s Path.

The Devil’s Path gets its name because it is arguably the hardest hike on the Eastern Coast of America. I was going to back pack it over a weekend with some friends. You summit 5 Catskill peaks and it is constantly up and down mountain sides. They aren’t major alpine mountains, but their steepness is what makes it so difficult. I remember feeling scared after coming down from the the third peak. I looked up to the next ascent and just felt petrified. I thought this thing is too big, and it’s just powerful. The next 3,500 ft were directly up hill. Honestly staring at it, I thought it could kill me. It just had this power that I couldn’t escape, its immensity and it’s quiet resolve just overcame me.

The weirdest thing was, I wasn’t in harm’s way. I was actually standing on a dirt path, with a beautiful babbling brook. The breeze was refreshing and the moment was too scenic to describe. Apparently things with great power have a way of giving us a healthy fear that we are very small.

This is what the fear of the Lord is. It is a reverence and respect, but also an appreciation that something is entirely out of our league in terms of power. It gives this sense, that with one wrong move it will be over for us. In Proverbs chapter 3 verse 7 it reads, “Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil.” Fearing God has more to do with appreciating his immense glory and power, and less to do with a cowering nervousness.

Maybe putting it this way is helpful, we are not supposed to be “afraid” of God, but we are supposed to understand God designed life and we did not. Maybe fearing the Lord is trying to remember who is in charge. God reigns and we do not. Remember the fear of the Lord is the beginning of the good life. A step closer to the good life. – Jack Hein

Journal Guide: Take some time to get alone today and take about 15-20 minutes to journal through these questions. Journaling is a way we pray to God, so see what God might be telling you.
1. What is one of your biggest fears in life?
2. Is there a difference between healthy and unhealthy fear? Is so, what is it?
3. How does it make you feel that God is in charge of life and not us?
4. Take some time to write a prayer out to God.

Conversation Guide: Ask three questions to your siblings and parents. We think doing it over the dinner table or right after dinner is a great time to do it.
1. Are you more of an outdoors person or an indoors person?
2. The devotional today talked about “the fear of the Lord.” How would you describe that in your own words?
3. What has God been teaching you lately?

Prayer: Read Proverbs 3, and pray this quietly to God.
Dear God, you are mighty and powerful, strong and glorious. You hold the whole of the world in your hand, and yet you are concerned about my life. Thank you that although you are so strong, you still love me. Help me to understand how glorious you are. I love you. Amen