Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fear the Lord?

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 
                                                                                                         --Deuteronomy 10: 12 - 13

I wrote at the beginning of the year that my verse for this year is Proverbs 31:30: Charm is deceitful, beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. Natural that this verse would speak to me mightily at this time in my life, considering that 2013 was my cancer/ chemo year. 

But as I pondered it, the last phrase rolled through my mind more and more...a woman who fears the Lord. Fears...the Lord. The possible implications of that statement are...in a word...huge. Now I'm not a Bible scholar or a Hebrew language specialist so I haven't researched the meaning of the actual word used in the original text. But I know in my heart this doesn't mean cowering-in-the-corner-defending-myself-with-an-upraised-arm kind of fear. 

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to have a private chat and word of prayer with Liz Curtis Higgs The Encourager. Liz came to speak at our women's event and as we talked before the first session, this subject came up. Fear the Lord. We agreed that we stumble over this verse sometimes because we get hung up on the word fear. It doesn't mean scared out of our socks. 

We came up with two words: respect and awe. Awe like we've never known for anything else. 

Right here in chapter 10 of Deuteronomy, we're told what it means to fear the Lord. We just don't very often read Deuteronomy, do we? Admit it...you're not alone. I have seldom dug into the richness of this text, to my detriment. As I was reading, it hit me square on the head - just like that commercial that slaps the forehead and says "You could have had a V8."

Let's set the scene. Deuteronomy is Moses' last words to the nation of Israel. The Jews are all assembled, waiting on the bank of the Jordan River to cross over into Canaan. Moses can't go with them, so he reminds them of all the ways God has cared for them and all the laws he has given them for living the way he wants them to. In the midst of this farewell, we find the meaning of "fear the Lord." He uses this phrase and then follows it with examples of how to do it.

---Walk in all his ways.

---Love him.

---Serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

---Observe the Lord's commands and decrees.

The way for us to do all these things is to study his word and do what it says. And love him. 

What does it mean to you to fear the Lord?