“Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD…Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” (Psalm 34:11; 66:16)
Have you ever taught someone the fear of the Lord? How would we even go about doing so? We often accept, embrace, and love biblical truths without ever thinking specifically about their exact meaning or implication. We know that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” and that we are to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Proverbs 9:10; Philippians 2:12). Perhaps a general understanding of reverent respect for and submission to God will usually suffice.
But how exactly are we to teach“the fear of the LORD,” as David sought to do? We are reflecting on the influence of our words, so let’s see what David says leading up to verse 11. He begins with a radical statement that we cannot hope to achieve but should strive for: “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (v. 1). John Gill makes the insightful comment that it is not God who is the author of our praise, but he is the object of David’s praise, in his worship, everyday accounts, in prosperity, and in adversity. * I like this distinction because many Christians confuse recitation of Scripture with praising God for his character and works, although it is indeed possible to do both at the same time since many Bible passages recount God’s attributes. However, sharing with you how God is providentially and mercifully working in my life medically or financially is different from reciting memory verses for you. Today God helped me to be both vulnerable and firm as I led a Bible study and participated in my accountability group. Vulnerability was vital to my effectiveness and it’s not easy for me to be both vulnerable and firm. I thank God for his faithfulness.
David also says, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears…This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them” (vs. 4-7). Here David testifies that he prayed to God for help, that God answered him and relieved him of his fears and his troubles. It is only possible to give this type of testimony if we are pouring out our hearts to the Lord. Then, we must pay attention to God’s answers to our prayers. Do you expect God to answer your prayers, and when he does, do you fearfully appreciate his wisdom? Do you tell others about God’s answers to your prayers?
One way to practice teaching others to learn about fearing God is to practice with other Christians who are already doing so. In Psalm 66, the psalmist addresses his testimony of what God has done for his soul to “all you who fear God.” Neglecting to tell others about how God is working in our lives negates the impact of our words in light of God’s purpose for us to glorify him. Will you testify about God today to teach and encourage others to have a fear of the Lord?