Psalm 25:14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
For those who want to get close to God, to hear what He has to say and walk with Him, David has very simple advice: fear Him. To us today that seems counter-intuitive: how can we get close to someone we’re afraid of? It’s all a matter of our understanding of fear. I’ve done a good bit of electrical work. I’m not “afraid of” electricity, but I have a healthy respect for what it can do, good or bad. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t make connections securely and safely or understand the principles behind such things as 3-way and 4-way switches. We are prone to think of God very much like Santa Claus, and that’s no way to get close to Him. The Japanese translation of this verse specifically says “is friendly/close/intimate with,” where the NIV says “confides in.” It is actually the character for “parent.” Another way of saying it would be, “God is Father to those who fear Him.” We have trouble grasping that to the extent that our physical fathers failed to mirror Father God. In other words, everyone has some degree of difficulty with it, because no human father is perfect. However, a salient feature of a good father is discipline. Hebrews 12:7-11 expresses that clearly, but society today has left many fathers afraid to discipline their children, and both the children and society as a whole suffer for it. A child in a truly healthy family will delight in being with their father, but at the same time will not want to make their father angry! That is the sort of relationship David is talking about here. It is sad and ironic that he didn’t succeed very well with his own children, but that doesn’t negate the truth of what is written here.
My father wasn’t perfect, but he was pretty high up the scale, and I have benefited from that all my life, in more ways than I could say. I was certainly not the best possible father to my children, but we do have a good relationship now that they are parents themselves. As a pastor/spiritual father I am continually presented with challenges, particularly because I don’t have such a clear framework for discipline. I can admonish, but I can’t really punish. I find that when believers are involved in things they know aren’t the best that they withdraw from me, and sometimes even from the church. That hurts them more than it does me, but it’s painful enough for me. People say they want to hear from God like I do, but they don’t have the fundamental commitment to obedience that is involved in “fearing the Lord.” I don’t have the wisdom or strength to solve each situation, so I have to stay open and humble before the Lord, speaking and acting as He directs, rather than just whatever occurs to me.
Father, You know those who most concern me right now, and You love them more than I do. I ask You to convict them as they need it, as well as give them a revelation of the forgiveness that fully available and waiting for them, so that they may be brought into the intimacy with You that You desire, for their benefit and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!