Remember, O LORD, what has befallen us;
look, and see our disgrace!
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
our homes to foreigners.
We have become orphans, fatherless;
our mothers are like widows.
We must pay for the water we drink;
the wood we get must be bought.
Our pursuers are at our necks;
we are weary; we are given no rest.
We have given the hand to Egypt, and to Assyria,
to get bread enough.
Our fathers sinned, and are no more;
and we bear their iniquities.
Slaves rule over us;
there is none to deliver us from their hand.
We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
because of the sword in the wilderness.
Our skin is hot as an oven
with the burning heat of famine.
Women are raped in Zion,
young women in the towns of Judah.
Princes are hung up by their hands;
no respect is shown to the elders.
Young men are compelled to grind at the mill,
and boys stagger under loads of wood.
The old men have left the city gate,
the young men their music.
The joy of our hearts has ceased;
our dancing has been turned to mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head;
woe to us, for we have sinned!
For this our heart has become sick,
for these things our eyes have grown dim,
for Mount Zion which lies desolate;
jackals prowl over it.
But you, O LORD, reign forever;
your throne endures to all generations.
Why do you forget us forever,
why do you forsake us for so many days?
Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored!
Renew our days as of old—
unless you have utterly rejected us,
and you remain exceedingly angry with us.
(Lamentations 5 ESV)
To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD.
Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in his heart;
there is no fear of God
before his eyes.
For he flatters himself in his own eyes
that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
He plots trouble while on his bed;
he sets himself in a way that is not good;
he does not reject evil.
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O LORD.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
There the evildoers lie fallen;
they are thrust down, unable to rise.
(Psalm 36 ESV)
Fear and Feast
Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart! Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. (Psalm 36:10-11)
When you do not fear God, you are walking down the deadly path of being indifferent towards iniquity. You shrug at sin and find yourself annoyed by those who take sin too seriously. It's not that you don't believe in God, but you've convinced yourself that mortifying sin and pursuing righteousness is a waste of your time.
Those who do not fear God can often be those who are the most opposed to those who are truly faithful to God. These types of people often appeal to God's love but hate His holiness, and so they will seek to attack those who take sin seriously and who highlight the holiness of God.
God, on the other hand, does not respond to indifference with indifference. God's love, holiness and judgement expand to cover the entire earth. He provides righteousness to those who hunger and thirst for it and protects His people from the arrogance and attacks of the wicked. May we as His people feast on the abundance of His love while also possessing the appropriate fear of His holiness.
God possesses both - unconditional love with a conditional holiness. The good news of Jesus Christ reveals how these two characteristics can manifest themselves and yet we as sinners still be saved. God has demonstrated His love for sinners by sending His Son and demonstrated His hatred for sinners by demanding the cross. May we be fearful and thankful but never prideful.