10 now therefore, o kings, be wise;
be warned, o rulers of the earth.
11 serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
blessed are all who take refuge in him.
we just finished reading about Jesus having complete dominion over all the nations, exercising his judgment over the unrepentant. now in this warning, there are two scenes in this passage that are held in juxtaposition: fear and peace.
fear – indicated by phrases such as:
“serve the Lord with fear”
“lest he (Jesus) be angry”
“you perish in the way”
“his wrath is quickly kindled”
yet coupled with commands of peace:
“kiss the son”
“blessed are those who take refuge in him”
… and the phrase highlighting the juxtaposition: “rejoice in trembling.”
fear is described as reverence, or deep respect. so can fear and peace coexist? or are they mutually exclusive?
it depends on who you fear. if you are fearing man or man’s ideals over God, like the recipients of God’s warning were doing, then fear and peace cannot coexist. fearing man will never bring you the peace you desire. placing steadfast hope in broken people will render you vulnerable to the world and its sneers of unfulfilled hopes. but fearing Jesus, the ruler of all nations and the God of all gods, will bring you peace.
there are many commands in this passage, and it is easy to become entangled in them. however, the main command to the audience is to revere God. fearing God leads to wisdom (proverbs 1:7). deeply respecting God emboldens you to serve him with your whole life. revering God causes you to adore him and “kiss the Son.” adoring God draws you in to take refuge in him and not in broken things. and it all starts with God softening your heart and teaching you about himself. isn’t it freeing to consider that all God’s commands for our obedience flow from fearing God?
God’s warning is intense, but ultimately, it is an act of love. God uses warnings as an invitation to repent in fear (reverence of God’s holiness) so that we can rejoice in peace with God. he is offering repentance and peace to you and your neighbor today.
Father, would you cause our hearts to fear you. our culture offers us distractions that puff us up and think we are more powerful than we are. please forgive us of our desire to chase after those distractions. please show us the brokenness of our world but ground us in eternal peace of your restoration. help us to seek Jesus above all things today and stir our hearts to want to know you more. amen.