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God's Word Produces Reverence to God

Psalm 119:38 Establish Your word to Your servant, As that which produces reverence for You. We have been looking over the last several weeks at the ways in which the Word of God is the means God uses for the sanctification (making holy) of His children. We have seen that it feeds their souls, revives them, strengthens them, comforts them and gives them wisdom and understanding. If you take the sum total of all these effects, you can begin to appreciate what a thorough work God's Spirit is able to to in His children through the Word! We will stay with the theme for one or two more weeks - and this week we want to dwell on the fact that God's Word produces reverence for Him. Our text takes different forms in modern Bible translations. Sometimes "Establish" is rendered as "Confirm" or "Fulfill". Sometimes, "word" appears as "promise" and sometimes "producing reverence" is translated in the sense of causing fear. The fundamental meaning is the same in any of these cases, even if a different translation might highlight one emphasis as opposed to another. To establish something is to make it stand - which is one meaning of to confirm and fulfill. The promises of God are spoken by Him in His Word, and "reverence" certainly carries an element of fear with it. How shall we understand this verse, then? In context, the psalmist is rejoicing in God's Word and delighting in it. However, he recognizes another principle at work in his flesh that threatens to make him behave in a way that is contrary to the precepts and ordinances of God, which he really does not want to do in his new heart. He is asking that He would hear God speaking to Him in His Word in such a way that He would grow more and more in his fear of offending such a wonderful God. Israel heard God thundering from the mountain and was terrified. Even Moses trembled at the voice of God. The psalmist wants to be aware that what is written in the Bible is every bit as much God's Word as what was declared with such awesome power from the mountain. He wants to tremble as he reads its pages or hears it preached. He wants to grow in reverent fear for God and in love for His Law so that at the same time he will grow more afraid of sinning. This is a wonderful way the Bible can help to give us victory over sin. It is not to be had by gritting our teeth and exercising all our own energy and might. It is not to be had (generally) in an instant. It comes as God reveals Himself to us in His Word and we grow in awe of Him in view of His perfect, holy character. The more we tremble in His presence and marvel that we are recipients of His love, the more we will fear to offend Him and the more we will find strength in our battle with sin. This week, let's get serious about fighting the good fight of the faith - let's read the Word and hear it preached!