Another promise today is this one. It is quite simple really. The promise is for those who fear God. To those of us who view God with awe and fear because we have enough of an understanding of who He is, that we understand there is something to fear. He is not our best friend. He is the God of the universe who is powerful and mighty and holy.
This same God, who is sometimes described as terrible, promises that He is watching out for each one of us. I think of the mom on the playground watching her children as she sweeps the group making sure she knows where each child is and that they are safe…but He watches with much more detail because He is omnipotent and omniscient…even omnipresent. He knows the details of every conversation and interaction, unlike the mother.
The parallel thought to those who fear God is “to those who hope in His steadfast love.” How often do we assume that His actions toward us are steadfastly full of love? How often do we misunderstand His actions that are full of love as coming from other motives?
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death….
Psalm 33:18-19 ESV
A note about Hebrew poetry…
I want to comment here about Hebrew poetry. It is helpful to understand a bit about it since there are some poetic books in the Bible. The Psalms is one of those books. The difference between Hebrew poetry and much of our poetry is that it is not based on rhyming or even the cadence… such as so many syllables per line, as much of our poetry is.
Hebrew poetry is based on parallel thoughts. Have you noticed how often it is set up in couplets? Then the lines are either synonymous, contrasting or one line that builds on the other? Pay attention the next time you are reading one of the poetic passages, in this case, a psalm. Poetry of this sort is great because it still works when translated to another language.
Our souls are delivered from death as we believe this God is more than simply the God who loves us
Our souls are delivered from death as we believe this God is more than simply the God who loves us with steadfast love or the God who is one to be feared because of His hugeness, holiness, justice and terribleness.
Both things came together and then some, on the cross. Certainly, the steadfast love of God in Jesus who went through the awful agony of death on the cross for the sin of each individual person. He endure separation from the Father while He carried that sin on Himself in whatever way that happened.
At the time, there was at least one earthquake, darkness came on the earth for 3 hours in the middle of the day and the thick curtain in the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom. These were not small things. The enormity of all that was happening was felt throughout nature, not simply by Jesus on the cross. It was a cataclysmic event of major proportions! It culminated on Easter morning when Jesus rose from the dead and showed He had been victorious over death and Hell!
As a result, we can, through Christ, have our souls delivered from eternal death. This promise is very comforting, isn’t it?
Action point: As you think about these verses, you may want to read the last few verses in this psalm (vss. 20-23.) They are parallel to these two verses in some ways. What new ideas do you gain from comparing the two sets of verses? What do you learn about who God is? What new promises do you see? Where do you see foundation for hope?
Take a few minutes to write down what you found and how it will impact your life.