Fear This!

Today’s scripture: Psalm 34:1-11 (ESV – text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tyler Connoley):

There was a time in my life when the thought of starting a daily devotional would fill me with a sense of dread. I felt obligated to do it, but I didn’t think I’d be able to keep it up. I was sure I’d fail, and let God down, and that would result in my being sent off to hell as soon as I died.

Then I’d read a passage like Psalm 34 and get stuck on verse eleven: “Come, oh children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”

Fear. That’s what Christianity used to be about for me. Fear of hell. Fear of God. Fear of the Church. And most of all, fear of not living up to all the rules and regulations that came with True Christianity as I understood it. I had this idea that God was like an evil dog trainer who enjoyed making his dogs jump through flaming hoops, just so he could show how much power he had over them.

The Hebrew word in verse eleven, usually translated “fear,” has more of a sense of respecting God — of standing in awe of God.

Today, I picture God as a loving mother who makes rules, like “brush your teeth every night,” because she knows it will help her children grow stronger and healthier. God wants us to succeed in life, and be the best we can be. And when God asks us to do something, it’s because it will help us. When we forget to follow God’s rules, like a child who forgets to brush her teeth before bed, God doesn’t throw us out of the house. God reminds us, again, why the rule is good.

Now, I spend time with God because I’m learning the pleasure of listening to the One who knows me like a perfect mother and wants what’s best for me. I fear/respect God as the greatest source of wisdom and power in my life.

Thought for the day: As you go through the day, think about God wanting what’s best for you in every situation. Then try to follow God’s path, respecting the One who knows you best and wants what’s best for you.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.