Youth and Fear of the Lord

Now that we’re back into our regular routine, my family has morning devotions where we pray and read a Psalm. The Psalm this morning was 34. Benedicam Dominum in the Book of Common Prayer. I love those latin titles!

9O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
for those who fear him have no want.
10The young lions suffer want and hunger,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12Which of you desires life,
and covets many days to enjoy good?
13Keep your tongue from evil,
and your lips from speaking deceit.
14Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it.

My friend Jon told me yesterday that he’ll soon be turning fifty. At one time I thought that was quite old. I’ll be turning thirty-three in a matter of weeks and fifty doesn’t seem quite so old anymore. I think we’d both agree that, while we’re not young lions anymore, (well he’s certainly not anyway!:)) this Psalm’s message is still directed our way. The Fear of the Lord is not something we start and stop learning. I have been raised with the Bible’s warnings in this matter since before I can remember. But this matter of evil speech, lying, departing from evil, doing good, seeking peace, and then pursuing it is a vigorous lesson.

Our society has definite ideas of youth and possibility and they have nothing to do with the Fear of the Lord. What is the Fear of the Lord? I think our society thinks it knows and wants nothing to do with it. In the Old Testament the word Yira’ in Hebrew seems to be used interchangeably between the real psychological fear of persons and situations where it would be normal (an angel appearing, death immanent) and a reverence for God. Today after years of religious training, our reverence for God is much too schooled to be described as fearful. We need to go back to the Bible and get some un-training!

Here another passage comes to mind. The words of Jesus regarding the Holy Spirit in John 16:5-11:

8And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

The world is wrong regarding sin, righteousness and judgment. In America today we think of sin as a silly little broken morality device. America thinks of righteousness as a sham standard of morality that some people manage to fake well enough but that just can’t be expected of most of the populace—of course that concept has nothing to do with Jesus Christ, or what is spoken of here. Finally America’s understanding of judgment must be out of whack when, in the name of justice its’ military can swoop in unannounced and randomly bomb at will persons it deems judged as too wicked to be alive. (e.g. the news this morning in Somalia)

My final thought in all this is that God alone is truly Good, Holy, and worthy of reverence and fear. Things that aren’t quite so AWESOME include America’s idolatry of youth and beauty, consumerism, militarism, narcissism. . . . . oh you get the picture.

Note: this is a big expansion on the Psalm this morning. There’s no way we fit this whole thing into the fifteen minutes we have before they’re off to school.

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Filed under Meditations, Pastoral Ministry

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