Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)
We are called to be one kingdom people, which means cultivating a holy, reverent fear of God.
Psalm 86:11 carries great meaning for me. I first really focused on this verse while on a recent trip to Hong Kong. Early one morning while going through my e-mail I received a deeply disappointing piece of news. I was physically shook. Knowing that I had several speaking engagements coming up (ironically enough, on the subject of trust in God) I shut my laptop off, opened my Scripture, and began to read and prayed. It was during those moments that my eyes found this wonderful psalm and it changed my heart, my attitude and my mindset. It set me free to finish the week well and it continues to be a source of blessings and challenge.
There is so much in this simple Scripture that we will use it as a text for the next three devotions. For me, the centerpiece is found in the third line, “give me an undivided heart.” I have found that for me this verse speaks most powerfully if it is read backwards. Here’s why. The reason that I have a divided heart is because I don’t really, fully fear God and God alone. So I start there and asked the question ‘what does it mean to fear the name of God?’
There is an old phrase that goes, “if you fear God you will fear nothing else; if you do not fear God you will fear everything else.” I find that to be very true of my life. 365 times in Scripture we are told, “fear not.” So why do I still fear things like financial downturns, health challenges, the loss of loved ones, failure in our work, loss of reputation, and more? To the extent that we fear these things we live with a divided heart. This is the reason we build second kingdoms. We want to have control over those things we fear, believing if we have the power over them, we can drive away the fear. Of course the opposite happens. The more we try to control the more we realize how little control we have, which causes us to fear all the more.
The first question that arises from this text is simply this, “what do you fear today?” Fearing God does not mean terror or dread, but being overwhelmed by his sovereignty, his awesomeness and his authority over every area of our life. Here’s the irony – a proper fear of the Lord is our greatest comfort. It drove Paul to ask in Romans, “if God is for us, who can be against us?”
What will it require for you to cultivate such a holy, reverent fear of God that all other fear will be driven from your life?
Find a Bible concordance and look up 10 versus that have the term “fear not” in them. Meditate on them today and ask God to cultivate in your heart and awesome fear of him that drives out all other fear.
Awesome and Holy God, I confess that I have made you very small in my life. If you were to give me a tiny glimpse for one brief moment of your true majesty it would drive me to my knees in holy fear and humble worship. I do not fear who you are, because I know your heart. I know that you love me dearly, that I am precious in your site. But I do not want to lose the sense of awe and wonder that comes from understanding your Holiness. Cultivate in my heart a proper fear of you. Help me to become so overwhelmed by your Majesty that my heart has no place remaining for the fear of anything else. Set me free from all other fear for your amazing love. In your mighty and awesome name I pray, Amen.
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