“Living In Reverent Fear”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Susquehanna River

We passed this wide section of the Susquehanna River north of Harrisburg Pennsylvania last Saturday. I find this scene interesting with all the small islands. However farther up the river some of the islands are large enough to farm on! We had over 10 inches of rain yesterday, the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, and this same river is now flooding.

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“Living In Reverent Fear”

“Live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear” (1 Peter 1:17b).

Pets on Ester's bedWe are in the process of training our daughter’s 8 month puppy Mollie. She has been a much greater challenge to us than Roxie as a pup. Since she is a border collie she has a compulsive urge to chase and herd. At times this is interesting to watch but not so much fun if you’re the one being herded. Our nearly 8 year old dog Roxie and our 10 year old cat Dottie are not amused as they are being chased and herded by a highly energetic, free-spirited puppy. It’s quite a sight to see Mollie yanking an unwilling Roxie down the steps by grabbing hold of Roxie’s collar with her teeth. For the most part Mollie seems pretty fearless which is not a good thing when it comes to lunging after oncoming cars as we take her for a walk. She is slowly learning to respond to the word “over” which we are teaching to indicate that she is to move toward the ditch rather than springing at the passing car.

LightningHowever yesterday she sure demonstrated a lot of fear. We’ve had a lot of heavy rains, over 10 inches yesterday, interspersed with flashes of lightning and crackling thunder. When the thunder roars Mollie comes running to us with a fearful, questioning look as she darts her eyes toward the window. From our perspective her fears are unwarranted since we are safely inside where there is little danger from the lightning and none from the thunder. The anecdote, “Thunder is just the angels clapping in heaven” would have no soothing effect on Mollie. She is seeking protection from the harmless thunderous noise, but on the other hand she will ensue deadly danger from passing cars as she lunges toward them thinking she has the capability and size to masterfully herd a car, truck, or even a bus!

Fear isn’t usually seen as positive or healthy. We’ve heard all our lives, “Get over your fear.” “Stop being afraid!” “Don’t be a baby.” But then we’re also taught to healthily respect the heat from a stove, the dangerous height from a second floor window, or the electrical current from an outlet in the wall. We’re taught how to accurately assess dangers so that we have a proper fear and understanding of the situation, and respond accordingly.

Many of us have memorized a Scripture that says in part, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear.” This is a stirring verse to memorize and apply when dealing with spiritual fears.

Yet the daily text speaks of a reverential fear of God which is a healthy fear. It is greatly lacking in our day. A healthy, holy fear of God is an essential component in the life of the maturing believer in forming our attitude and approach toward a holy God. John gives perspective on the isle of Patmos as he wrote, “Who will not fear You, O Lord and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy” (Revelation 15:4). In a secular culture where the Lord’s holy Name is spoken in vain or blasphemously, where God is commonly referred to as “the man upstairs”, we need a good understanding and reverential fear of God. The Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

As we apply our daily text, we will not be looking for our place in this world, for we are to live as strangers in reverential fear. The Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary reveals some insight into reverential fear: “Fear and hope flow from the same fountain: fear prevents us from falling away from hope. Though love has no fear IN it, yet in our present state of imperfect love, it needs to have fear going ALONG WITH it as a subordinate principle. This fear drowns all other fears. The believer fears God, and so has none else to fear. Not to fear God is the greatest baseness and folly. The martyrs’ more than mere human courage flowed from this.”  Martyrs who lay down their lives for God are put through the ultimate test in choosing to fear God more than man.

Our daily verse may be one of the most ignored truths by contemporary Christians: “Live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” Read that over a few times and prayerfully ask yourself, “Am I living my life here on earth as a stranger in reverent fear?”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we read in Proverbs that “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death” and “The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” We must choose to fear You rather than man so that we prepare ourselves for living as sojourners here below with heaven in view at all times. We can do this when we live as strangers in reverent fear of You, our Father in heaven. Amen.
(Proverbs 14:27; Proverbs 29:25)

Further thought on fear: David McCullough in his book “Mornings On Horseback” tells this story about young Teddy Roosevelt: Mittie (his mother) had found he was so afraid of the Madison Square Church that he refused to set foot inside if alone. He was terrified, she discovered, of something called the “zeal.” It was crouched in the dark corners of the church ready to jump at him, he said. When she asked what a zeal might be, he said he was not sure, but thought it was probably a large animal like an alligator or a dragon. He had heard the minister read about it from the Bible. Using a concordance, she read him those passages containing the word ZEAL until suddenly, very excited, he told her to stop. The line was from the Book of John 2:17: “And his disciples remembered that it was written, ’The ZEAL of thine house hath eaten me up’” People are still justifiably afraid to come near the “zeal” of the Lord, for they are perfectly aware it could “eat them up” if they aren’t one of His. Our Lord is good, but He isn’t safe.

Hershey park flooded 9/7/11
Photo of flooded Hershey Park 9/7/11

Regarding all the rain: Our yard is flooded and for the first time we have a bit of water in the corner of our basement. We sure hope it dries out soon but we have rain in the forecast today and tomorrow! Our area is being plastered with the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. We have had a lot of flash floods in our area as well and many are dealing with far worse circumstances than we. Many roads are closed and impassable. A friend called this morning and reported the lower level of his church is flooded.  More photos of the flooding in our area.

Van update: Our van was deemed totalled as a result of the accident we shared about last Friday.  So we pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as we seek to replace it.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“We Choose The Fear Of The Lord”  Video  Maranatha Singers

“We Choose The Fear Of The Lord”  Video  Instrumental (We use this song as the background to our podcast today as well.)

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne


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