A PLEASANT SERIOUSNESS
“Be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.”—Prov. xxiii. 17.
The fear of the Lord—it is a grand and significant Old Testament word. It depicts a state of mind and heart which might well be more manifest to-day, and which I must seek to cherish and foster within my own soul.
It is fear felt towards the Lord. Do I think, as much and as deeply as I should, of His dazzling and worshipful attributes? His justice cannot be tarnished. His holiness is without flaw. Before the splendour and awfulness of His majesty the angels veil their faces with their wings ; cherubim who know and seraphim who burn feel themselves unworthy as they stand adoring about His throne. He is a most pure Spirit, the old Confession says. His is the sevenfold radiance of divinity. Ah, He merits my reverence and my fear.
But it is also fear felt by the Lord. Many a year after Hebrew psalmists and prophets and sages had finished their course and borne their testimony, God lived and moved, laboured and wept and died, among men—God in the person of my Saviour Jesus Christ. And, when He was here, He knew well this sober and seemly grace. He was heard, the New Testament tells me, for His eulabeia—His godly fear. In my culture and habitual exercise of fear, I am in the best company. I hold fellowship with my Redeemer and my King.
So salutary a fear will deter me from sin. It will deepen my watchfulness and my holiness. It will increase my diligence. It will enable me, always and everywhere, to practise the presence of God. In many directions, at countless times, it will benefit my life. I should cultivate it more. There are shadows more to be desired than all the brilliance of the garish day.