Lectionary: 1 Samuel 3:1-10(11-20); Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17; 2 Corinthians 4:5-12; Mark 2:23-3:6
I grew up with the knowledge that God was always watching me. This information was meant to keep me good but mostly I just got used to the idea and did what I wanted to anyway. But when I discovered a trusting relationship with a God who was both strong and loving, my actions became healthier because now I cared. The selected reading from Psalm 139 personalizes who God is to us.
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
In the Psalm reading above we see the words ‘fearfully’ and ‘wonderfully’ working together to describe God’s act of creating us.
I’ve often been asked what ‘the fear of the Lord’ means. There are various original language words that get translated as fear: Hebrew words yare can mean fear, respect, reverence; yirah suggests fear that trusts God’s good intentions. Second testament Greek word phobos is recognizing that God is big, real big, and can do whatever he wishes. It’s used more as a clear, healthy understanding of who God truly is and who I truly am in the big picture. Of course God is dangerous – God is above and beyond everything – however, the danger is cloaked in the security of knowing his intentions are only patient and loving toward us.
In The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis writes about Susan’s first meeting with Aslan, the ruler of Narnia. Mr. Beaver tells Susan ahead of time that Aslan is ‘…the great Lion’. Susan uncomfortably asks, ‘I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.’ Mr. Beaver responds with, ‘Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’
Is my Creator incidental in my life? How do I take God for granted?
What should ‘fear’ mean when I know that he created me and knows me and loves me?
What are my circumstances, my talents, my heart, and God’s Spirit-voice telling me?
- Pause quietly for a few seconds or minutes, leaving your mind open… (not easy, is it?)
- Pray Psalm 139 (above) slowly, thoughtfully, thankfully and let it sink into you…
- Ask God to make His thoughts your thoughts.