“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love for those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:11-12)
Two incredible benefits are defined in the verses above: unlimited love and infinite forgiveness. So who receives these benefits? Answer: Those who fear Him.
On this side of the cross and this far past it, some might recoil at the idea of fearing the Lord, particularly when they recall John’s statements that “there is no fear in love” and “God is love.” Even so, we must accept that what the psalmist says is true, and if true we need to consider how to reconcile these thoughts. It’s actually simple.
The fear of the Lord, as expressed here, is not the kind where someone cowers in a corner terrified by some kind of “monster.” This kind of fear is better described by the word “awe.” Awe is what Jacob felt when he woke up one morning from a dream in which he saw angels descending and ascending from heaven and then knew he was in a holy place. An awesome fear is what Moses felt before a burning bush that burned without being consumed. Awe is what Thomas expressed when he said, “My Lord, and my God.” Awe is what Saul of Tarsus felt when blinded on the Damascus Road where he met Jesus.
The fear of the Lord is thus the recognition of awesome power, sovereignty, love, goodness, and the holiness of God. We experience this as we walk with God in faith and humility. This kind of fear is what brings unlimited love and infinite forgiveness into clear focus and leads us in joy to say, “Thank You.”
Lord, Truly we give thanks to You for Your faithful love and complete forgiveness. We thank You for the privilege of walking with You. Amen.