Psalm 25 | Part 2. What does it mean to ‘fear God’? … To understand that I am not the centre!
To fear God is to recognize that one is not the centre of the universe. The fear of God engenders proper humility in a person that makes them teachable. This fear is not an emotion that makes one run away, but rather to persist in God’s awesome presence and to listen to his instructions. He instructs them because they are willing to learn. For that reason, God confides in them and makes his covenant known to them,
Longman, T. III.
... One last obstacle I would mention to becoming a generation like this — and I feel bad about this one because it’s my generation’s fault. We have not served you well. I’m 57. I’m old enough to your grandfather probably and definitely your father. I think in terms of these generations not only do you have a hard time living with a passion for the glory of God because you don’t know what it is because it’s so hard to define.
But also because we have taught you so wrongly about the gospel. We have made the gospel in my generation, the generation of the self and the me have made you the center of the gospel. We’ve made you the center of God’s saving and redeeming work, not a display of his glory for the nations.
And we have said to you the gospel is about you and your work. The cross is about you and your work. That’s what my generation has delivered in 10,000 ways to you and I would be surprised today apart from a marvelous grace in your home church that you don’t believe that.
God did not suddenly become an idolater when he created man, putting man where God belongs to him. God is not a man-worshiper. God is a God-worshiper. Or would you deny him the highest joys of the universe? But we did not tell you that. We bred you on your self-centeredness. We taught you a gospel of self-esteem that heals all diseases, and we put God on the periphery as a means to your self-exaltation.
And so there is a great barrier, there’s a great barrier here. My generation has failed itself and you in so many ways. You’re not the center of God’s values; the glory of God is the center of his value. You’re not the center of his redeeming work; the magnifying of Christ in your life is the center of his redeeming work. You are not the treasure of the gospel; God is the treasure of the gospel.
Here’s a test. Are you ready? Just a one question test to see whether or not you know what it is to be loved by God, whether or not you know what it is to experience the love of God in your life because my generation has sold you a bill of goods on what that means. We have told you in a thousand ways to be loved by God is to be made much of.
Some of you can’t even conceive of another definition of love than to be made much of. Does God love me? He makes much of me. Now here’s the test. Do you feel more loved by God when he makes much of you, or when he, at the cost of his Son’s life, gives you the ability to enjoy making much of him forever?
I’m going to state the test question again, you do the answering in your heart.
Do you feel more loved by God when he makes much of you or do you feel more loved by God when he undertakes through the cross in the Holy Spirit to enable you to experience a kind of inner revolution that you enjoy making much of them forever? That’s the test question for this generation, my generation failed it. We still do.
We’re still delivering the wrong books, the wrong sermons, the wrong message to this generation. “It’s all about me, all about my value.” We stand before the holy cross of God Almighty and take it as an echo of my worth instead of as an echo of the horror of demeaning the worth of God, which is what sin is, and which is why the cross was necessary.
“I count everything as a loss for the passing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7). Jesus is the holy one. That’s what the Devil has recognized. “What do you have to do with us, Holy One of God?” Jesus is the holiness of God made accessible, Jesus is the holiness of God made tolerable. Indeed, Jesus is the holiness of God made enjoyable if we can get low enough and tremble hard enough and rend our souls deeply enough that we understand what holiness is and required of Jesus.
You were made to feast on Jesus. You were made to feast on holiness found in Jesus. If somebody asks you “What is the love of God? What is it to be loved by God?” The answer is that God sustains and exalts his holiness for your enjoyment forever. That’s the love of God.
I’ll say it again. The love of God is his passion to sustain and uphold and exult his holiness and his Son for your everlasting enjoyment. If you put yourself at the center, you’re suicidal. Because it robs you of the very glory of God and his enjoyment.
Where God sanctifies the heart he enlightens the head. We all wish to choose our way; but what a mercy is it when the Lord directs that choice, and makes free will to be goodwill! If we make our will God's will, God will let is have our will.
Even more noteworthy is the way in which the believer under affliction discovers the true source of all the mischief, and lays the axe at the root of it.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.)
Forgive all my sins, is the cry of a soul that is more sick of sin than of pain, and would sooner be forgiven than healed. Blessed is the man to whom sin is more unbearable than disease, he shall not be long before the Lord shall both forgive his iniquity and heal his diseases. Men are slow to see the intimate connection between sin and sorrow, a grace taught heart alone feels it.