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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

July 19 2023

Today, Wednesday July 19

God Wants Us to Fear Him

Psalm 76:7-12

“You, Yourself, are to be feared; And who may stand in Your presence When once You are angry? You caused judgment to be heard from heaven; The earth feared and was still, When God arose to judgment, To deliver all the oppressed of the earth. Selah

Surely the wrath of man shall praise You; With the remainder of wrath You shall gird Yourself. Make vows to the LORD your God, and pay them; Let all who are around Him bring presents to Him who ought to be feared. He shall cut off the spirit of princes; He is awesome to the kings of the earth.”

The story behind Psalm 76 is most likely God's judgment of the Assyrian army as recorded in Isaiah 37-38 and 2 Kings 18-19. The armies of the Assyrian King Sennacherib had surrounded Jerusalem and laid siege to it. The leaders of the army were demanding that King Hezekiah and the people surrender. The prophet Isaiah encouraged King Hezekiah to put his trust in the name of the God of heaven’s armies and that is exactly what he did. And after Hezekiah laid his situation before the LORD, and put his trust in Him, God sent one angel and destroyed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night.

From this Psalm we learn several things that God wants us to do. God wants us to know Him (vv. 1-3). God wants us to trust Him (vv. 4-6). God wants us to fear Him (vv. 7-9). And God wants us to obey Him (vv. 10-12). Today, we will be looking at verses 7-9, and be thinking about how God wants us to fear Him.

The fear of the Lord is a major theme in this psalm (vv. 7, 8, 11, 12). The “fear of the Lord” is mentioned often throughout the Bible, and it means the reverential awe, the respect and veneration that belong to God alone. God's people love Him and rejoice in Him, but they also "worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling" (Psalm 2:11). A. W. Tozer wrote: "No one can know the true grace of God, who has not first known the fear of God".

The Lord had been longsuffering toward Sennacherib's officers as they blasphemed His name and threatened His people, but then He revealed His wrath, and the siege was over that never really started. The question that asked in verse 7, “You, Yourself, are to be feared; And who may stand in Your presence When once You are angry?”, is also asked in Psalm 130:3: “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.” It is also asked in Revelation 6:17: “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"

We rejoice that "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 16), but we must also remember that "our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29). The New Testament passage that always comes to my mind when thinking about God’s love, God’s judgment, and our fear is 1 John 4:9-10; 17-19: “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins…”. “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”

When we have experienced God’s “perfect love” through Jesus Christ, we no longer have to fear the “torment” of God’s wrath and punishment for our sins. This fear is cast out and we are in awe of God who love us so much that He would give His only Son to die for us!

“You caused judgment to be heard from heaven” (v. 8). From His throne in heaven, the Lord announced the verdict and the trial was over. There could be no appeal because God's court is the very highest and His judgment leaves the defendants speechless. “… that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19). "The earth feared, and was still" (v. 8).

According to verses 9 and 10, God's judgments accomplish at least three purposes: they bring glory to God as they reveal His justice and holiness; they punish the wicked for their evil deeds; and they bring salvation to those who trust the Lord.

Today, if we have accepted God’s salvation, we truly can "worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling" (Psalm 2:11).

God bless!

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