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Unite My Heart To Fear Your Name

Psalm 86:11 (ESV) -- Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

One of the greatest deterrents I had as a child from doing dumb stuff was fear of my dad. I knew that if I went too far, or rebelled past a certain line, I had to face my father. I received many spankings as a child because of my propensity to push boundaries and find trouble. But the greatest restraint was knowing consequences awaited me in the form of a disappointed father who was ready to discipline me. 

One of the greatest problems in our world today is no fear of God. People do not fear the Lord. The result of this is many live in rebellion against God and harm their neighbors. If we feared the Lord, and truly understood our accountability to Him, it would curb much of the lawlessness in our world. 

Therefore the psalmist says in our passage today, “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” The psalmist prays for the LORD to teach him His ways. He wants to know His word and follow it. He wants to walk in the truth. Then he prays a strange prayer to our ears, “unite my heart to fear your name.” This is strange to us because we’ve lost the fear of God. Not only have we lost the fear of God, we’ve lost the idea that God should be feared. We try to soften the image of God. We want to make Him like us.

The fear of the LORD is good for our souls. This doesn’t mean we are frightened of God. I’ve never been frightened by my father. There is a difference between being scared and having a healthy fear. I knew my father loved me. I never questioned his love and goodness to me. But I knew his love for me meant I would be disciplined if I acted in ways that defied his commands and expectations of me. The same is true of God. He is a tender, loving Father. But we should not mistake that for being gentle or soft on sin. Instead, He disciplines those He loves. This should help us to fear His name, leading us to holiness and obedience in our lives.

Reflection & Journal:
- Why do you think people discount or ignore the need to fear God?  
- What reasons do you think have led to our lack of fear in God?
- Why does the psalmist pray that the LORD would unite his heart to fear God?

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