Inward Trembling

Truth For Life Devotional, 2 Nov 2012

Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law.

Psalm 119:53

My soul, do you feel this holy trembling at the sins of others? For if you do not, you lack inward holiness. David’s cheeks were wet with rivers of waters because of prevailing unholiness. Jeremiah desired eyes like fountains that he might lament the iniquities of Israel, and Lot was deeply troubled by the conduct of the men of Sodom. Those upon whom the mark was set in Ezekiel’s vision were those who sighed and cried for the sins of Jerusalem. Gracious souls cannot help but be grieved to see what pains men take to go to hell. They know the evil of sin experimentally [experientially], and they are alarmed to see others flying like moths into its blaze.

Sin makes the righteous shudder because it violates a holy law that it is in every man’s highest interest to keep; it pulls down the pillars of the nation. Sin in others horrifies a believer because it makes him think of the baseness of his own heart: When he sees a transgressor he is reminded of his own frailty and vulnerability: "He fell today, and I may fall tomorrow." Sin to a believer is horrible because it crucified the Savior; he sees in every iniquity the nails and spear. How troubling it should be when the Christian learns to tolerate rather than shrink from it in disgust.

Each of us must examine his heart. It is an awful thing to insult God to His face. The good God deserves better treatment; the great God claims it; the just God will have it or repay His adversary to his face. An awakened heart trembles at the audacity of sin and stands alarmed at the contemplation of its punishment. How monstrous a thing is rebellion! How dreadful a doom is prepared for the ungodly! My soul, never laugh at sin’s fooleries, lest you begin to smile at sin itself. It is your enemy, and your Lord’s enemy: Learn to detest it and to distance yourself from it, for only then can you give evidence of the possession of holiness, without which no one can see the Lord.

Fear of the LORD

“Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.”Proverbs 16:8

There is more excellence to my hearing of the horror of my sins, the certainty of God’s judgment, and the excellence of justification in Christ alone than in hearing the depth of man’s knowledge, the summit of his wisdom, and the breadth of his good works.

I should much rather hear the excellencies of Christ and the glorious truths of the Gospel from the pages of Scripture by the stammering tongue and stuttering lips of a feeble saint who trembles in the presence of the Master, than to hear the most eloquent speech from the man who has never been undone by the reality of the Lord upon His throne, high and lifted up.

I should much rather receive refreshment in one drop from that well of godly sorrow that worketh repentance than to have my thirst quenched at the river of self-vindication, where there is no repentance and dismisses the precious blood of remission.

To know the exhilarating height of all emotions without trembling in godly fear before the presence of the Holy One is a superficial relationship with Christ at best, and to never have truly known Christ at all at worse. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

Source: Encore Devotional: Fear of the LORD.