The “fear” filter kicks in again this morning.
Yesterday I briefly shared the difference Michael Reeves’ book, Rejoice and Tremble: The Surprising Good News of the Fear of the Lord, has made in how I’m seeing what it means to fear God. That the fear of God which we are to have is not a fear which recoils before a God who in His holiness will govern by Law, but beckons us into the presence of a God who in His goodness deals with us according to grace. A fear that draws us near in a response of loving adoration towards the God who mercifully and graciously gives us all things, even Himself.
This morning’s case in point was encountered in Ecclesiastes.
I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil — this is God’s gift to man. I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before Him.
(Ecclesiastes 3:10-13 ESV)
What is the dynamic that should cause people to revere God? To stand in awe of Him? To honor and respect Him? To fear Him? The fact that He makes everything beautiful in its time.
It’s the reality that He has wired us with a sense that we were made for more than a few decades on this earth. That even in our “toil”, our daily routine, there can be joy as we “eat and drink and take pleasure” in whatever lot the Sovereign Creator has assigned us because we anticipate the beauty of a future time — and there is a time for everything (Eccl. 3:1)
Creation itself gives hint to the fact that “whatever God does endures forever” — and we are something He has done. We too will endure forever.
And why has the God of all things done this for mere mortals? So that people fear before Him.
Awe born out of adoration. Reverence as the fruit of redemption. Honor because of the anticipation of heaven. Respect as a result of His self-revelation.
Far from cowering, we come close. Rather than turning our back, we give Him our face — though bowed to the ground.
He will make everything beautiful in its time. So that people fear before Him.
The fear of the LORD. Such is our response to grace. Such is the response which will bring Him glory.