From Fear to Joy

Psalm 25

Snow Day. Everyone is home. Great reading today. I really like how this Psalm has a strong sense of asking for guidance from God. To me, verses 4 & 5 drive the whole Psalm.

“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

This is reinforced in verse 9, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” Why wouldn’t we want to learn from the Master (karate reference). To learn we listen to those that know more. But the interesting thing about teachers is that just because they have a vast amount of knowledge, doesn’t mean they are a good teacher. It’s the ability to SHARE that knowledge in a way that the student learns and comprehends that makes a good teacher. The ability to take boring knowledge and present it in a fun, engaging way so that the student learns better.

God is the ultimate best teacher. Of course he knows everything. He created it. And He created the rules that govern it. In verses 4 & 5, David, the student is asking to be taught. Verse 9 shows that God is willing to teach the humble person. The person that is willing to be taught. One of the main tools God uses is the Bible. I love how the One Word challenge helps us focus on study and learning as I read the bible. And now this online journaling has exponentially magnified the effectiveness for me. I really wish I had started this earlier, but I always had excuses. This forces me to think as I write. To expand and think about what the chapter is saying.

One really cool aspect of this, is seeing a chapter in a whole new way. My reading and bible study of Psalm 23 is an excellent example. I have never thought of the Psalm from that point of view. And even last year, before I started journaling I was getting better. The entire book of Job was very enlightening for me, but alas, no journal to review and re-read later. I am sure when I circle back to Job, I will learn something new and different.

Verse 12 talks about “Fear of the Lord.” I have always had a problem with this phrase because I don’t feel afraid of my God or Jesus. Not in the traditional sense. Sometimes as I grow spiritually, emotionally, or experientially, I wonder what God is building me up for. What is He training to do? And I get a bit worried. But I trust God, so I am not afraid. I might hate where I am going, but I trust. Job was very helpful in crystallizing this a bit more. Kind of interesting to note that Job never found out why he went through his trial.

The Life Application Study Bible had a great note about “fear of the Lord” that helped me tremendously.

“To fear the Lord is to recognize God for who He is: holy, almighty, righteous, pure, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-wise.”

That’s great. That more than anything has helped me today. It’s just a different definition of fear. And I can apply that anywhere.

Still only half-way done with the Psalm. Verse 14, “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.” Knowing that God confides in me. Wow. He takes me into His confidence. To be in someone’s confidence implies an intimate and lasting relationship, a friendship. Having my God as my friend. And sharing confidences between each other. It’s a two-way street. It’s easy for me to share my confidences and secrets. Who is He going to tell? That being said, he could share my needs with anyone he chooses. And I trust that. But even cooler, is He shares His confidence with me. It’s more than just the covenant. It’s the knowledge I get when I read, pray, listen, and learn.

Verse 16, David is asking God to, “Turn to me and be gracious to me.” I need to remember to ask this more often. Now that I have a true fear of God. A better understanding of God and our relationship to each other. I can’t be afraid to ask God to turn to me. And in fact, since I have a growing relationship with Jesus and God, and share confidences, asking my friend for help, to be gracious to me is more natural. But I must always remember the God for who he is too. Not as tough of a balance as I thought it would be if I remember to stay humble (verse 9).

Ending with Integrity and Uprightness in verse 21. Awesome. A great idea for protection. Uprightness, being morally right, honorable, even humble. If we are upright, it is harder to fall down. And integrity. One of my favorite words in general. Doing what is right when no one can see it, or even know. Doing both can create a bubble of protection, especially if our hope is in God.

This has been a very joyous study for me. It is infused in my reading and my take-aways from today’s learning. Getting a much better understanding of fear really relieves a bit of a burden I had trying to truly understand. And that’s my joy. A better relationship with God and my friend Jesus.