“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

~C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

 

“Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Psalm 2:11closePsalm 2:11 11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling. (ESV)
closePsalm 2:11closePsalm 2:11 11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling. (ESV)
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling. (ESV)

And so we begin with the fear of the Lord. I love this verse because it couples fear and joy harmoniously together. They are not opposite concepts when the object is the Lord. I can have a deep-seated reverence for the Lord, a trembling in his presence, and still rejoice in Him because he is both almighty and merciful. Serve the Lord! Be the subject of this King, uproot any plans for treason against him, submit to him, work for him and his glory, be identified with him, labor whole-heartedly for his sake. And this serving is done with fear. An appropriate realisation that the King whom I serve is also the  judge who will come and crush the nations with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9closePsalm 2:9 You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” (ESV)
closePsalm 2:9closePsalm 2:9 You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” (ESV)
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” (ESV)
). Fear changes the kind of serving that is done–fear heightens the value of serving. It is no longer sloppy, mundane labor, but in the service of the King. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than dwell in the tents of the wicked. John the Baptist had this kind of heart attitude, serving with fear: “I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals.” It is not only the outer action of service that God deems valuable, but also the heart attitude. God weighs the heart and actions together. True service springs out of a heart that reveres God.

“Serve the Lord with fear, rejoice with trembling.” This verse is in parallel construction, a common Hebrew poetic device: serving corresponds to rejoicing and fearing corresponds to trembling. In this sense, serving takes on less of an outward action connotation and more of a willing submission to God (heart). It is a willingness, eagerness to bow the knee before the King and worship him. Rejoicing takes this concept a step further–not only willing, but also wanting. This is where one finds fulfillment and purpose. Celebration and delight spring up in the service of God, because He is good. He is worthy and bestows his favor on his subjects. John the Baptist recognised this kind of pure joy: His joy was for Christ to increase and himself to decrease. What a remarkable JOYFUL HUMILITY. Beautiful. The joy is balanced by trembling. Even in the most elated bliss, the heart never becomes puffed up or proud. It maintains its posture of submission to God. That is where the true joy is. Our culture may tell us something different–”Freedom is where one defies authority…happiness is when self-esteem is highest…pride brings pleasure…” But these statements fail to account for the deep hole in the human heart. The hole was made for the wholeness of Christ to be formed inside. We say with John Piper, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.”

One Response to Not Safe But Good

  1. Nathan

    great stuff Julie. you challenge me to think deeper. and it comes at a perfect time, when i am trying to figure out rejoicing, and entering back into ministry, serving.

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