Not everything that’s scary has eight legs.
In my Bible notes this morning I was asked the question as to who can know God. This was in the context of my reading Psalm 33 and I was directed towards, what to me at least, is the somewhat curious verse 18. Here it is:
‘Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love.’
A similar verse is found in Psalm 147:11 which reads
‘but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.’
So the eye of the LORD is on those he takes pleasure in. So far so good. But they are those who, whilst fearing him, hope in his steadfast love. And therein is what for me is curious about these verses – we are to put our hope in the one we fear.
Generally speaking we run from things that we are afraid of. Well I do! If a lion came into the room that I’m now sat, I’d be afraid – I’d run from a lion. Likewise, as a result of my dislike of all things eight legged*, if a dirty great big spider dropped from the ceiling above me, I would be mightily unsettled. I’d run from a dirty great big spider. And if the building that I’m in began to collapse I again would be terrified and I would be out of my seat like a shot and making fir the door. I’d run from a collapsing building.
But if we fear God – if we fear the consequence of all the wrong things that we have done – then our only hope is to not to run away from God, but to run towards Him.
And most particularly we need to run to the cross – where a loving yet righteous God poured out his anger, not on us, but on his son Jesus who took there the punishment we deserve.
I live in Somerset, on the edge of the Blackdown Hills. If we were ever to have a long dry summer and some dreadful fire took hold and began to destroy the countryside near where I live, the safest place for me to be would be where the fire had already been, where it had already scorched the ground before moving on. That ground can’t be burnt again. So it is with God – the safest place from God’s wrath – is where it has already fallen and cannot fall again – that is – in Christ.
So I think there is no contradiction in hoping in the one we fear. At first glance it might seem crazy for sinners like me to run towards a holy, righteous God. But in truth the only sensible thing that those who have a reverent fear of God can do, rather than hiding from Him in terror, is to run to Him for mercy – putting their trust in his steadfast love, hoping in the one who is both their hope and shield, the one who will surely deliver them from death.
So may that be the response of us all. As the psalmist in the closing verses of Psalm 33 yearns, may the LORD’s unfailing love rest on us as we put our hope in him and may our hearts rejoice as we trust in his holy name.
* Please note that my aversion to all things eight legged does not extend to the rest of my family made up as it is by my wife and three children all of whom have their full compliment of lower limbs!
To read ‘Good Friday 2022’, click here
To read “Easter Sunday – 2021”, click here
To read, ‘The Resurrection – is it Rhubarb?’, click here
To read, ‘Real Love?’, click here
To read ‘Real Power’, click here
To read, ‘But this I know’, click here
To read “Hope comes from believing the promises of God”, click here
To read “Waiting patiently for the Lord”, click here
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