read: “He will delight in fearing the Lord.” Isaiah 11:3a
reflect: Isaiah says that the One we are waiting for will delight in fearing the Lord. How could there ever be delight in fear? The times I remember being afraid were not delightful. The word translated fear here also means to be in astonishment, or awe. I’m more comfortable with astonishment or awe. But maybe “fear” is still helpful. Even delightful.
Why? Because we are afraid of so much. We are afraid of getting wrinkles, growing a paunchy belly, getting overlooked for a promotion, not being asked to a party, being rejected by a “friend.” We are afraid the wrong candidate will get voted into office, that our children won’t turn out like we hope, that we are not as smart as people might trust us to be.
Being fearful of God is not a fear like that. Fearing God is the fear that comes when you stand before the crashing waves of the ocean and know that our Creator is great beyond measure. It’s the fear of responding to a challenge that God is calling you towards because you would rather stay cozy in your comfort zone. It’s the fear of letting someone different from you into your circle of care because you hear the powerful voice of God saying to do it. It’s the fear of having your life changed every time you are in the Lord’s presence.
The fear of the Lord causes us to lose all our other fears in the presence of the only One who is worthy to demand allegiance from us.
Knowing who to fear, and what not to fear, could be a pretty good gift. There is no delight in fear by itself, of course. But maybe there is great delight in fearing the Lord!
pray: O God who causes awe, don’t let us lose our delight in ill-chosen fears. Help us to delight in your mighty power and love. Help us to follow Jesus and fear you alone. Let us find joy and freedom as we do! Amen.
with children: Share with your child a fear you have had in your life that wasn’t really necessary to have. Ask them if they can name any fears they remember having when they were younger, and now they aren’t afraid anymore. Tell them one way God helps us grow is to teach us what is right to fear and what is not.
act: Go through all of your gloves, hats, scarves, mittens, and the like. What are you afraid of, a blizzard while 15 people are staying at your house? Bring the stuff that is in good shape but you don’t need to the Door of Hope (200 W. 1st St.) so our neighbors in need won’t have to fear the cold. Take delight in giving them away.