Our psalmist sings of a GREAT victory God has provided. He calls for ALL men to fear God. Israel and Judah with reverent fear; all others with trembling.
I had to look up the story that the psalmist used as his reference. It is probable that the psalmist lived through this battle and is singing of the glorious victory. The story can be found in 2 Kings 19. Hezekiah is king of Judah at the time and Sennacherib is the aggressor. And GOD kills the whole enemy army in their sleep!
Our author asks the question “Who can stand before You once Your anger is roused?” (verse 7b). This is a good question. Sennacherib roused God’s anger by calling Him impotent and no better than any other nation’s god. He got a lesson on the truth of the matter. He didn’t die in the night with his troops but neither did he escape punishment by God. The people of Judah were honoring God at that time because they had a godly king. King Hezekiah was FAR from perfect but he KNEW to follow the Lord. He knew that Judah was MUCH better off when they kept God first, so this is what he decreed.
The people of Judah had been yanked back and forth between faithfulness to God and worship of idols with the changing of their kings. Some were faithful to God and some were FAR from it. When a ‘far from it’ leader rose up and led the people astray, they paid for it. God removed His hand of protection. This was done through letting other nations rise up against them, even their brother nation of Israel, or by withholding the rain. These acts were to bring His people back into line. They worked to a degree but, after David’s death, they still held onto their idols with one hand while using the other to honor God. NOT acceptable unto Him! And the reason Judah had to go into exile too.
“But You, You are to be feared!” (verse 7a). There are two types of fear being spoken about here. The first is the easiest to understand. If we were to take every act of God and line them up for ALL to see and ponder, especially the acts of correction, one would be blown away! You would see how dangerous it is to be on the bad side of God. You would easily be able to draw direct lines between sin and punishment. If you were wise you would find some way to ensure you were NEVER on His bad side. A smart person or leader would run as far away from confronting God for as long as possible. This fear is terror of what will happen to you because of your actions.
The second fear is reverent fear. This fear recognizes and acknowledges the character of God. It is not a ‘cringe’ or ‘duck and cover’ reaction but one of awe and wonder. You KNOW there is power in His hands and you show Him proper respect when interacting with Him. You don’t try and ‘boss Him about’ or make demands. He welcomes us to bring our requests to Him and to entrust Him with the outcome. We recognize that HE has eternal outlook and control and respect Him for His decisions.
There is NONE like You O God! You are holy and righteous. And You call me Your child! How can this be Father God? I have done NOTHING to deserve this honor. My desire is to honor You in ALL I do. Help me Lord to NEVER take Your love for granted! You are AMAZING!!!