Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In Awe

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. Psalm 33:8 NRSV

One thing that I love about the Psalms is that they are often repetitive. If you don't understand something in one verse, often the next verse repeats that idea. This is called parallelism. It might not say the same thing but it does say something very similar.

I find this verse helpful in wrestling with the idea of fear of God. The first part of the verse uses the word fear. The second part uses the words "stand in awe of [God]." So, this psalm gives the word fear the meaning of standing in awe. I like that much better. I am more comfortable with standing in awe of God.

Or am I? My realization of the awesome power of God usually occurs when God has done something in my life or I have received a blessing of some sort. I am not going around spontaneously being in awe of God. It is almost as if I won't be in awe unless God does something first. Fear does not have similar connotations. In fact, fear would be more likely to be what I feel when something bad happens. So, should I be in awe or be in fear? I think I am more comfortable with one than the other but it isn't very permanent.

God, how come scripture sometimes gives us more questions than answers? Help us as we struggle with how we should be in relationship with You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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