Wednesday, August 22, 2018

To Be Relieved of Terror

All in vain I have kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.
For all day long I have been plagued, and am punished every morning.
If I had said, “I will talk on in this way,” I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.
Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!
They are like a dream when one awakes; on awaking you despise their phantoms.
When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,
I was stupid and ignorant; I was like a brute beast toward you.
Nevertheless I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me with honor.
Ps 73:10-24
I suppose I might look at this part o Psalm 73 as a threat: the destruction of those who disregard God and who live selfish lives. But I don't think it's like that at all. The end is before all of us. We can cower in terror of it, or we can trust God that the end as we perceive it will be but a new beginning. To fear God (i.e. to respect God and to be aware of God's awesomeness) is to be relieved of terror. Absent that fear, we lack wisdom and for all our refinement and riches, are no better than brute beasts who are only concerned with material things.

Father, imprint upon my heart that because I belong to you no one can pluck me from your hand, and because I fear you I need fear no other. In the Name of the One who taught me to pray...
A New Zealand Prayer Book