Devotion for Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Psalm 19:9, “The fear of the Lord is clean…”
What is the benefit of fearing the Lord? Of course, fearing God is part and parcel of the response of faith and repentance that leads to salvation founded upon God’s grace. Nonetheless, the Bible gives us a glimpse of a particular spiritual blessing of revering the Lord. David highlights this blessing in Psalm 19.
Psalm 19 points to creation as a key indicator of God’s existence. “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” (v. 1) The second section of this psalm is dedicated to the glory of God’s Word. “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul” and “The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart” (v. 7-8). Right after these great phrases, David then says, “The fear of the Lord is CLEAN, enduring forever.” (v. 9)
Clean. That is such an interesting word to me. The Word of God is perfect, right, and true. Yet, the fear of the Lord is described as clean. What does that mean? It seems that fearing the Lord as one allows the Spirit to fill his or her life through the Word of God produces a clean conscience. Therefore, a clean conscience, a clean heart is a result of fearing the Lord.
Remember what David tells us in his famous fifty-first Psalm, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (v. 10) David desired a restoration with the Lord and a conscience cleansed of sinfulness. He says, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (v. 2) Cleansing from unrighteousness in David’s life, restoring his character as a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14), began with David’s return to faith, repentance, and the FEAR OF THE LORD.
The New Testament also points to the wonderful blessing of the clean conscience as a result of Godly living, fear, faith, and repentance. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 1:5, “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Peter encourages, “with gentleness and REVERANCE, keep a good conscience.” (1 Peter 3:15b-16a). The writer of Hebrews provides the encouraging truth that we can “draw near [the throne/presence of God] with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience.” (Heb. 10:22)
Jesus dealt with the cleanliness laws of the Pharisees at multiple points in His ministry. He confronted the Pharisees in Mark 7, highlighting that true cleanliness comes from the heart, not outward traditions. The Lord states, “there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.” (Mark 7:15) Jesus demonstrates that the Pharisees were more worried about outward appearances of cleanliness than they were of the true matter of cleanliness itself. Cleanliness is a matter of the heart, and it comes from a true reverence and fear of the Lord.
The New Testament is clear (especially in 1 Peter 3:16 and Heb. 10:22) that great power comes with a heart and conscience washed clean by the Word of God in the fear of the Lord. With the fear of the Lord comes the peace that passes understanding. With the fear of the Lord comes joy unspeakable and full of glory. With reverence proceeds boldness to follow the Lord wherever He leads.
The fear of the Lord, indeed, is clean. David also points that the fear of the Lord lasts forever. Remember what John instructs us in 1 John 2:17, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God (i.e., fears the Lord) lives forever. My prayer to you today is that you will experience the great eternal power of the clean conscience as you fear the Lord by following His Word.
Pastor, Sharon First Baptist Church
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