August 17, 2021

Mercy to Those Who Fear Him

Luke 1:46-56

“His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.”

—  Luke 1:50

I’ve never been so excited that I broke into song or poetry. But I can remember Christmas mornings when I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to open gifts. When my wife and I started dating, I found it really hard to focus on my homework. But I’ve never broken into song like Mary did, as we can see in Luke 1.

Imagine Mary’s excitement. She was pregnant with the Son of God and had just been blessed by her relative Elizabeth—who became the mother of John the Baptist (Luke 1:57-80). Mary rejoiced in song, the song that we have read today in Luke 1. In the middle of that song, Mary sings that the Lord extends mercy to those who fear God. This might make us confused. Isn’t fear a bad thing?

In many places in Scripture, fear is equated to awe, devotion, and even worship in connection with God. God does amazing things—things that are so far beyond our comprehension that fear may be the only appropriate response. After all, God created the universe—and you and me too. And he didn’t abandon us even when we turned our backs on him. He guided all of history to bring his good plans for us to completion. He sent his only Son to be born a human being, to live as we live, and to die for our sake—paying the price for all our sins. And he still loves us today. There’s no better reaction to all of this than awe, reverence, worship—and yes, even fear.

Awesome God, you are so great, and you do utter­ly amazing things. We join with creation in worshiping you. Amen.

About the author — Bret Lamsma

Bret Lamsma is director of faith formation at a church in Denver, Colorado, and has served churches in Michigan and California in youth, inter-generational, and educational ministries. Bret and his wife, Julie, have two children, and he enjoys hiking, camping, and visiting national parks with his family.

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