Reverence for the Lord - 4 September 2023
By Ben Fourie
Advice to Young People
There is a story that has always touched my heart, because it is such a sad story. It is the story of an old nun who was on her deathbed after a life devoted to God. Although she was very old and the doctor said that according to all medical knowledge, she should already have died, she kept clinging to life.
Eventually, her priest asked her why she was clinging to life so tenaciously. Her answer was: “I am so afraid of God.” A lifetime in the service of God, but so afraid to meet him face to face! She never learnt the difference between reverence for God and to be afraid of God.
As a child, I was also afraid of God, especially when I listened to adults talking about him. Was I afraid of my dad? Not really, maybe a little, when I had done some mischief. However, I did have a lot of respect for him and, therefore, I listened to what he said. Many times, I suddenly realise that what I am doing, is exactly like my dad would have done in the same situation and I realise how much I have learnt from him.
It is such a relationship that the author of Proverbs had in mind when he talked about reverence for God. We can almost say that this verse is the crux of the whole book and we see that he returns to this theme in many places in Proverbs. I have counted 21 verses where he talked about this subject and there may be even more. We find the same idea in Psalms and Ecclesiastes.
To have reverence is to never be afraid. Reverence for the Lord is the starting point to learn about him and gather wisdom about him. Reverence for God means to trust him completely with your whole life.
The author uses a very strong word to describe those who do not have reverence for the Lord. He calls them stupid. Indeed!
Prayer: Lord, please help me to have the greatest reverence for you, but also help me to never be afraid of you. Amen