Psalm 119:33-40 He
Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end
Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.
One of my favorite things to do with scripture is figure out the paradoxes that seem so prevalent in the God’s Word. Those that are not a saint cannot understand the scripture, but for those that are saints we can get interpretation from the Holy Spirit, not a commentary. The paradox that I found here was the idea of fearing our God in verse 38.
Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared.
Then you see all through the scripture that God wants us not to be fearful, but faithful. He doesn’t want us to have a spirit of timidity, but a bold approach to the unbeliever. He wants us to go through circumstances knowing that we have nothing to fear because we can cast our cares on Him for He cares for us. He wants us defeating Goliath’s in our lives without cowering back.
A recent fear I just overcame in the last week was the fear of deep water while swimming. Yes, I could not go into the deep end of the pool. I have a leg injury that I am dealing with and it was suggested by a good friend that I take up aqua jogging. Aqua jogging is where you take a flotation device that has a belt around it and put it around your waist. You then get into the deep end of the pool and start jogging as if you were on solid ground. Of course the whole idea is not to have impact with the ground or have any kind of gravity involved in the jog. I realize that if I am to get over this injury the best way is to do it is to aqua jog. So, starting at the end of the pool I slowly walk to the deep end and can feel the drop off with my feet. All good pools have the rope line going across so that you know where the deep end is. I duck under the rope and grab onto the side of the pool with one hand the other I keep moving as I would as if I was jogging. My feet leave the safety of the ledge and I am one-step into the fear zone.
The fear zone is when your heart starts pumping, your eyes get wide and you realize that there is nothing under your feet but water. As you jog your legs propel you forward in the pool, so I have to continue grabbing onto the side and walk my hand along to hold on. I know that if I let go I am going under and drowning. As I move along, I have the ladders as obstacles to get around, so I grab onto those and then swing to the next free part of the top of the pool. I do this for three laps, when I get to the rope I can feel the pool bottom, so I just skim that till I get to the top of the pool again.
When you are doing something that pleases God and that can benefit you, God will give you courage at the right time. He will make sure you can make the step out of the fear zone into the faith zone. After the third lap, I decided that this is the dumbest thing hanging on to the side and letting my other arm move forward and backward. It was very unbalanced. The small voice of the Holy Spirit came to me and told me to just let go, you won’t drown, trust me. I let go of the side and my fear was replaced with faith and joy. Faith in knowing God was right, I wasn’t going to drown and joy from the freedom of hanging onto the side. I was so confident as I jogged, I didn’t have to worry about the stupid ladders that made me nervous because I had to get around them. I did that for another 40 minutes and praised God the whole time. And just to be sure I was over the fear, I took off the aqua jogger and swam a lap from the 3.6 foot end to the 8 food deep end and back. Yes!!!!
The paradox comes here. I had faith, I overcame the fear, but I also feared God more than I did drowning. I feared Him not as if I am afraid of Him, but out of awe and respect and honor for who He is. The creator of the universe took time out to encourage me to let go of the side and to trust Him to keep me up and going. Yes, I would have drowned if I stopped jogging because the flotation device says all over it that it will not support you to keep you from drowning, another thing to add to my fear. The point is to keep moving forward because God is right behind you every fear zone step of the way. The psalmist is talking about having a fearful faith. God wants us to fear Him and be faithful to what path He puts us on. As John the Baptist put it, He wants us to become less, so that He becomes more. When God becomes more, we become more with Him. Our life has significance and we continue moving strong in our fear zone walk with Him. As the Psalmist says here, keep reading and meditating on God’s Word and we will find ourselves in a fearful faith and an adventurous significant life.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.