It’s shaping up to be another busy week, and I am fighting off a sore throat with congestion. I can’t tell if it’s allergies or sickness- isn’t that frustrating? Whatever it is, I’ll be using my Neti Pot daily, taking plenty of vitamins and just generally throwing everything I can at these symptoms. You can read more about my “voodoo” here.
The passage for this week is Psalm 34:11-14, and the Seeds song is “Listen to Me,” track 11 on “Seeds of Purpose.” Here’s the text:
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
This passage is full of good wisdom. Much like with the will of God, sometimes it seems difficult to know what it means to fear God. From what I have learned from people who are much smarter than I am, I believe the main way we demonstrate our fear of the Lord is through obedience to him. I do think there should be an aspect of “afraid” fear involved, too, because God is so righteous and just and could totally wipe us out if he chose to do so, but this passage is focused on obedience that starts with love.
The first thing that comes to mind for me in this passage is teaching children the fear of the Lord. It is something parents are responsible to do at home with their kids, but adults in the church can also do in the context of church. That could be through teaching Sunday school or volunteering in other ways in the children’s or youth ministries at your church. Just yesterday I had the opportunity to teach some of our youngest kids, and while it was for a short time and I don’t know how well they were really listening, it was such a good thing. We adults and teenagers were demonstrating obedience to God through service just by being in that classroom. We demonstrated the importance of the Word by teaching from it and listening to it. We demonstrated love for others by being kind to one another and to the children. It may seem small, but when we give a child a snack of animal crackers, or delight in their creativity as they play, or when we guide them toward doing the right thing, God is working. He is teaching the child and teaching us.
For those of us who are older, if we follow Christ and say we fear God, this passage gives us some specific instructions for living it out. My paraphrase of these verses would go something like this: If are following God and want to have a good life, speak in ways that are good and honest. Do things that please God. Look for peace from aboveand hang onto it when you find it.
I’m sure it’s not theologically perfect, but that’s my take. So this week, when I will probably have many opportunities to say things I shouldn’t, do things that will displease God, and get sucked into worry and other types of chaos, I think it will be very helpful to have these words going through my mind. And not because the words will activate my willpower and make me do good, but because the words are directly from God and his Spirit will renew my mind in ways I cannot fathom. That is what truly powers my obedience; it is not my strength, but God’s Spirit.
Because this passage is so long, I figured it would be a good one for a slightly different memorizing approach. Verses 11, 13, and 14 are pretty easy, but verse 12 isn’t stuck in my brain yet. So rather than writing the whole thing out I decided to only write parts of the verses so I can fill in the blanks with my brain when I see my chalkboard.
What’s your take on these verses?