Fearing But Not Afraid

Psalm 103:13

It might seem strange that in Psalm 103 David mentions all the benefits that God's loving kindness and mercy be stow upon us, and then states in verse 13: "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him."

Why should we fear the God Whose mercy is as high as the heavens and has removed our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west? Is our versification right when it sings thus (PRC Psalter)?

The tender love a father has
For all His children dear,
Such love the Lord bestows on them
Who worship Him in fear.

That word worship seems to modify things a bit. But we still have that word fear. Why fear God when He does all this for us? Well, we are not afraid of God with Christ and His cross standing between us and God. Our guilt is all gone! And He loves us in Him. But the fear that is here meant is the fear of reverence and awe. In the Old Testament Scriptures the word fear is used so very often as faith. Only twice — in Habakkuk 2:4 and in Deuteronomy 32:20 —will you find the word faith. Amazing is it not? It is those who believe in Him Whom God pities as a father pities his children.

While we are still in this vale of tears God pities us because our sins are blotted out by His Son. But we still live where the curse rests since Adam's sin. We have sicknesses and pain, bereavements and losses, enemies and persecution. In all this God pities us, and our faith in Him is a sign to us that He pities us and that in that pity He is going to remove the curse completely from us, That faith or fear means that we have already been born again, begotten unto a lively hope.

Being the holy, unchangeable God, His pity far outshines that of a human father. We have, therefore, no reason to be afraid that He will cast us into the lake of fire, but we can be sure that He will bring us into the curse-free, curseless new Jerusalem. We need not be one whit afraid of the day when Christ returns. That is the day of our glory, the day when all fear of His wrath is forever behind us.

Read: Revelation 22
Psalter versification: #278:1
(Words and Music of the Psalter)

Meditations on the Heidelberg Catechism

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Song for Meditation: Psalter #375
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Isaiah 54; Isaiah 55; Isaiah 56; Isaiah 57:1-14
Ephesians 6:1-24
Psalm 70:1-5
Proverbs 24:8
****Quote for Reflection:

… In short, in order to walk uprightly, we must necessarily put away ‘respect of persons’, which obscures the light and perverts right judgment, as God frequently inculcates in the Law, (Deuteronomy 1:16;16:19,) and as experience also points out. - John Calvin

Last modified on 26 September 2015

Additional Info

  • Date: 28-September
Heys, John A.

Rev. John A. Heys was born on March 16, 1910 in Grand Rapids, MI. He was ordained and installed into the ministry at Hope, Walker, MI in 1941.  He later served at Hull, Iowa beginning in 1955.  In 1959 he accepted the call to serve the South Holland, IL Protestant Reformed Church.  He received and accepted the call to Holland, Michigan Protestant Reformed Church in 1967.  He retired from the active ministry in 1980.  He entered into glory on February 16, 1998.

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