Thought for the Week - 12th MarchPastor Gareth Watkins
Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your loving kindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.
Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
For Your name’s sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
Who is the man that fears the Lord?
Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
He himself shall dwell in prosperity,
And his descendants shall inherit the earth.
The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.
When we read this passage we see there are two requirements if we’re going to follow on after God: humility, and fear (a reverential fear or a righteous respect) of God. Often, these things can be missing from a Christian’s life. When we come before God we should not be bigger than we should be before God. We’re taught in life to be proud of ourselves, bold with our opinions and definite in what we’re about. When it comes to the things of God, things need to alter.
In this passage, David brings an aspect of following on after God – if we don’t have these two things in place, we won’t follow Him properly. If we don’t have humility before God, and if we don’t have reverential fear of God, we won’t follow Him properly. Last week I wrote about God’s heart being open towards us and God dwelling among us. They won’t happen for us if we’re not humble before Him and if we don’t have that reverential fear of Him.
David, who wrote this passage, was a man after God’s own heart. He shares with us in Verse 14: “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.” Some people can be high-minded in their attitude towards God. They can be flippant and demanding. Some people command God to move! How can you command God to do anything? We need to be careful before God. He has given us an opportunity to come before Him. Should we overstep the mark with over-familiarity, a cheeky or flippant attitude? In doing so, I believe we affect the things that will take us on in God.
God’s heart is open towards us and He has a path set before us that goes on into eternity. But if we can’t hold aspects of ourselves properly before Him, we’re not going to see those things properly.
David knew a lot of the secrets of the Lord. He knew the things of God from a young man. In a natural sense, he wasn’t big enough to stand up before Goliath. In God he became strong enough to take on that giant of a man! David knew about trusting God and about aspects of God from a young age. When he speaks of the fear of God, he knows what he’s talking about. He says in verse 7: “Do not remember the sins of my youth”. He remembers the sins of his youth. Sometimes, to know where we are before God we need to know what our sins are before God.
When David talks in his wisdom: “According to Your mercy remember me”, he knows where he stands before God. He knows that without God he’s on a slippery slope to hell. He knows the mercy and forgiveness of God. He’s not too big, too powerful or too old in walking on with God to think he’s conquered everything and doesn’t need God. His position before God with a righteous fear is constantly there for him. He knows exactly where he is at any one time. He’s not going to step out of line, be overfamiliar with God. He remembers, with a reverential fear before God, that he is a sinner that’s received God’s mercy and blessing, because of who God is. That is something for us to know too as we walk with God. To hold ourselves right before God is important.
There is only one God! It’s not just opinion… the evidence can be seen in our lives. It’s not in a theoretical form. The evidence in David’s life helped him slay a giant, become a King, and become the family tree of Christ. Without David being right before God in these things, we wouldn’t have these details recorded as we do. There would have been many believers and Kings who fell away, and whose deeds were subsequently not recorded.
For us to go on and enjoy these things that God has for us, one of the things that has to be right is a righteous and holy fear before God. David describes that as a secret. In verse 14, he goes on to say “He will show them His covenant.” God will show them who fear the Lord His promises, His secrets ways, the principles of living, the details they need for their hearts. God will show the blessings. That is a miracle of God! The fear of God is essential.
In verse 11, David writes: “Pardon my iniquity”. Even though we are Christians and our sins might not be as bold as some people, we will sin. David reminds himself and he reminds God. God is a God of mercy who wants to forgive our sins. He is reminding God that His inclination towards him is merciful because he is a sinner, and he knows with fear where he stands. We need to be mindful of these things.
With humility, we have to receive the blessings of God and the move of God in the right way. Who can talk about getting things because we “deserve it” or we “achieved it”. There needs to be a humility attached. We have to come before God on bended knee and ask Him to have His way in our life. His ways are better! Our ways aren’t better than God’s. Having a humble heart before God keeps us right. Humility isn’t a weak character! Humbleness before God is keeping a bended knee before God. That humility keeps the right attitude before God at all times.
In verse 8 we read:
“Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice”
We need God’s guidance! Without God’s guidance, where would we be? If we’re not humble, then we don’t receive God’s guidance. David needed God’s guidance. If David needed God to guide him, then surely we too need God to guide us too. There’s things new to us all the time from birth to death. We need guidance! He guides us.
Humility and reverential fear were secrets that David learned. If we come before God with humility and reverential fear, He will teach us, He will look after us, His pardon, testimony, forgiveness and blessings are there for us. If we choose not to, all those things aren’t there for us.
Luke 1: 30-38
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son,
and shall call His name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest;
and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Highest will overshadow you;
therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord!
Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Mary was presented with an incredible proposition! God was going to bring forth in her the life of the one that was to become the Christ. She was told by an angel that He would be the Holy one who’s called the son of God. The result was that, in faith, Mary said: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word”. She had to have humility to accept something wonderful was going to come to her from God! She had to accept it, before the angel and God, in the right heart or it would have all fallen apart. This verse reflects the heart of Mary! What humility… “let it be to me according to your word”. She stops dead in her tracks, with the fear of seeing the angel, and says “let it be to me according to your word”. The greatest miracle in the world came from this woman, from her having humility and reverential fear.
I believe these are the qualities that the bible takes for miracles to occur. If we want these miracles to occur in our lives, the blessings of God, the heart of God to be open to us, these aspects that we read of with Mary also need to be in our hearts. We need to be strong and upright, but bending our knee to God for His favour and His purposes to be outworked.
Are our hearts rightly placed before God? Do we bend our knee? Do we feel the righteous fear that we should before God?