The Fear of the Lord; December 20, 2022


Isaiah 11:3-4 And he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

We aren’t used to a ruler being a supreme judge, but that’s the context here. Democracy in any form was unknown when Isaiah was writing, and monarchs were indeed absolute within their kingdoms. We have trouble thinking of even Jesus as absolute! However, the description given here should give us peace and even joy. Christ as King will indeed judge correctly, as only He knows the thoughts and intents of our heart. The first line of this, that He will delight in the fear of the Lord, shows how little we understand the fear of the Lord. We can’t imagine delighting in fearing anything! This isn’t a terror, but a deep respect and full obedience. Sadly, the description here is in sharp contrast to the vast majority of political leaders today. If they had any fear of the Lord they wouldn’t pull half of the stunts they do! What we see is indeed a swamp of creatures devouring each other and the people they supposedly serve, all for the sake of perceived personal gain. This doesn’t mean Christians are to abandon the political sphere, but rather that they are to apply this standard to all their political decisions. We do need to remember that no one is perfect but Jesus, least of all us, but we must never abandon this ideal. Anything less is to be held up to this standard – including our own actions and motivations.

Raised in the home that I was, I learned to love the Lord from a very early age. The fear of the Lord has developed more and more over the years. I wish I could say it has been perfected in me, but that is hardly true. I still respond to what I see and hear physically over what I perceive spiritually, showing my spiritual immaturity. It is easy to look at politicians, for example, and point fingers, but I’ve got to remember that my own thoughts and actions are my first responsibility. The thing is, being self-centered isn’t the way to do that. It is only as I focus on the Lord, rather than on myself, that I can fear, obey, and love Him properly. There are a number of things about the busyness of this season that I don’t like, but focusing on my feelings will only make me more miserable and cause me to respond poorly to the people around me. I keep coming back to what the Lord told me, years ago now: I need to rest, relax, and rejoice in Him. Only that will result in a life that is pleasing and honoring to Him.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I’ve got another week of frenetic schedule, but You will get me through it. I pray that I would be so centered on You that in my every interaction, those with whom I interact would be blessed and drawn to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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