10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
   be warned, O rulers of the earth.

11a Serve the Lord with fear,
   with trembling 12kiss his feet…

There are at least three kinds of “fear”.

There is the “fear” that is a natural, appropriate and necessary response to danger. Faced by a charging grizzly, I experience fear. This fear is my friend. It pumps adrenaline into my system and empowers me to flee from real danger. Despite some images that are occasionally conjured by terrifying preachers, God is not a grizzly bear, bent on my destruction. There is never a good reason to flee from God. Part of reading the Bible accurately is to always move towards the interpretation that shows how God/life is oriented towards the prospering of all creation.

For most of us the second kind of fear is much more common. Many of us are afflicted throughout our lives by speculative fear. I fear what could be or might be. This fear is always focused in the future. It lives in my mind, spinning stories that trouble the dark restless hours of night. Speculative fear is a terribly destructive force. Jesus said simply, don’t do it – “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) A strong healthy spiritual life is lived in this present moment, not in some imagined future. This moment, right here, right now is where life takes place. And, as difficult as it may be, this present moment can be endured.

The third form of fear is the fear we are instructed to have towards God. This fear is embodied in the gesture HP recommends as a sign of our willingness to serve God – “kiss his feet.” The healthy fear of the Lord is synonymous with honour, respect, and reverence. To “fear God” is to live with respect for all of life and to serve the well-being of all creation.

What do I honour, respect, and reverence in life? Lord, help me to live a life in which I let go of speculation fear and live with a healthy reverence for the wonder and beauty that is  your presence in all of life.