Come, you children, and listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. (Psalm 34:11)
I’ve read this verse before, but I forget not only that the fear of God is something that can be taught, but also that I should be deliberately teaching it.
Truthfully, I’ve rather avoided those thoughts because I’m avoiding the work of compiling Fear of God verses. How is that for lazy? Yikes! But the thought occurred to me that King David doesn’t just write the verse above in isolation; he actually develops his invitation in the whole chapter. So, although I know I probably need to develop the fear of the Lord discussion beyond this chapter, I figure it’s a good place to start. I’m not sure I’ve taught the fear of God from this chapter.
At breakfast, of course! Not long ago, breakfast talks were ultra short, complete monologues, my children would ask when I would be finished talking, and I was pretty certain that I was talking for my own benefit only. Now they actually interact, and they stick around longer, even after their cereal bowls are empty. (Nevertheless I do admit that it’s jarring when they decide to leave!) This is a short conversation– my brain is like a sieve for numbers, so I can’t tell you how long, but few of my breakfast conversations are long.
- I first asked them what the fear of God was. Bethel said it was knowing that God sees everything. That was not a bad start.
- Then I asked them if the fear of God was good or bad. Laurel thought it was bad. David and Bethel have heard this talk before, I’m realizing, and it’s encouraging that they remember.
- King David seems to start his fear the Lord discussion by reminding us that God is good. It makes sense that knowing God’s goodness tempers the scary fear that results from knowing God sees everything. So we spent some time talking about God’s goodness.
- King David tells us that when we fear God, our actions will change. It’s part of realizing that God sees us doing right– Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Seek peace and pursue it, and so on.
- We talked about how God’s promises are for those who are believers (“the righteous”– not a state of perfection here, but our status as children of God). That gave us a mini talk on salvation.
- We see repentance, too in verse 17 and 18. We talked about repentance and the fear of God. Briefly.
Bowls empty, fruit gone, and children ready to get the day moving. Guess that means mom, too.
I didn’t read it to them, but the discussion was related to what I read this morning. Micah 6:3— O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.”
The imagery is powerful– it reminds me that God desires fellowship with me, and that when I refuse to take the time with him, I’m acting like a child bored with a new toy, or a lover bored with her spouse. I don’t always think about God’s emotional cry to bring me back to reality. Remembering who God is and what he has done for me is a part of the fear of God, too. He has done much for me, and blessed me beyond measure. That’s what I’ll be thinking about today.