Home > Occasions > I Will Teach You The Fear of the Lord. Opening School Matins, 2014.

I Will Teach You The Fear of the Lord. Opening School Matins, 2014.


Beginning of School Year Matins

St. Peter Lutheran Church and School

Psalm 34:11

August 20, 2014

“I will teach you the fear of the Lord”

 

Iesu Iuva

 

Come, O Children, listen to me.

I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

 

Listen to those words again.

 

Be very quiet and still and hear them.

 

Come, O Children, listen to me.

I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

 

That is the theme verse for this school year.

 

Come, children, listen to me.  It sounds like a grandpa rounding his grandkids up to tell them a story.  Or like a teacher, when she wants to get the class into a circle and read them a book.

 

Listen to me.  I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

 

The fear of the Lord.  Is that something to teach children?

 

Yes!

 

Because those who fear the Lord lack no good thing.  Those who fear the Lord are taken care of by the Lord.  They have many good days.  And even when they have not good days, the Lord takes care of those who fear Him and they have joy.  Those who fear the Lord have joy and want to praise God and get other people to praise God with them!

 

But those who don’t fear the Lord.  Those who don’t fear the Lord.  The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth (Psalm 34:16).  Mary, Jesus’ mother, sang that the Lord “scatters the proud” and “brings down the mighty from their thrones.”  Those who don’t fear the Lord have God as their enemy.

 

So come my children, listen to me.  I will teach you the fear of the Lord.  That is why this church and school is here.  That is what your teachers are doing when they teach you the Bible, the Word of God.  That is what I do when I teach in classrooms and in the church.  We are teaching you the fear of the Lord so that you may taste and see for yourself that the Lord is good.

 

So what is the fear of the Lord?  It is a question with an answer that is not hard to understand.

 

The fear of the Lord is turning away from evil and believing in Jesus.

Come, O Children, listen to me;

I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 

What man is there who desires life,

And loves many days, that he may see good?

Keep your tongue from evil

And your lips from speaking deceit.

Turn away from evil and do good;

Seek peace and pursue it.

 

The first part of the fear of the Lord is to turn away from evil.  Even though you are kids, you know something about the difference between good and evil.

 

Doing evil is what comes naturally to us.  When you get mad at someone, before you know it you begin speaking evil about them.  When you are afraid you’re going to get in trouble, it’s easy to lie to try to get out of it.

 

The first part of the fear of the Lord is to turn away from evil.  It means to speak the truth, even when it hurts.  It means to confess when you did something wrong.  It means to seek peace with other people instead of hating them.

 

That is called the fear of the Lord because we run away from evil because we don’t want God’s anger and wrath upon us.  God is the enemy of sin and evil, and to commit sin and evil is to be an enemy of God.

 

So because we fear God’s punishment, because we know He is great and holy, and He sees all we do, we turn away from evil.  We shut our mouths when we want to say bad things about other people.  We open our mouths and tell the truth and speak well about our neighbors—that means about other kids in the class, about teachers and others in authority over us.

 

That’s the first part of the fear of the Lord, to turn away from evil.

 

But the more we try to turn away from evil, the more something strange happens.  When you turn away from evil, it doesn’t go away.  There is always some new evil thing that tempts us.  If you tell the truth once, it’s still hard to tell the truth the next time you’re afraid you’re going to get in trouble.  People make us mad, and if we don’t say anything to them or about them the first time, it’s even harder not to say anything the next time they make us mad.

 

That leads us to the second part of the fear of the Lord—to believe in Jesus.  When we turn away from evil, there is always more in us, waiting to come out.  We can’t get away from it just by hating it and trying not to do it.

 

But there is a person who takes away all the evil in us.  He makes it so that God is not angry at us for the evil in us.  He makes it so that God forgives us the evil that is in our hearts.

 

That person is Jesus Christ.  He is God, and He is a human being just like us.  He had to live in the same world we do.  It would have made his life easier if he would have lied.  He had every reason to be angry with people who treated Him badly.

 

But He didn’t.  He feared the Lord and never did any evil.

 

Then He gave up His life for us.  He died on the cross and took God’s anger against our sins.

 

To fear the Lord is to turn away from evil, and to turn every day to Jesus and trust in Him, believing in Him, believing that He took away your sins on the cross.  Asking Him for help to keep God’s commandments and love your neighbor.

 

There is joy in the fear of the Lord.  The Lord is good!  He doesn’t hold our sins against us, but removes them as far from us as the east is from the west.  And He will take care of us and not allow anything to destroy us or harm us.  Not even the worst things can harm those who are baptized and believe in Jesus.  Not even death.

 

Come, O Children, listen to me.  I will teach you the fear of the Lord.  That is what your teachers are saying to you all year long.  Not just, Come O Children, listen to me, I will teach you multiplication tables, or I will teach you how to write in cursive.  They are teaching you those things, but along with those, something eternally important, something that brings life and joy.  The fear of the Lord.  To turn away from sin and to believe in Jesus Christ, whose death on the cross took away the sins of the world, and has taken away your sins and mine.

 

May Jesus Christ grant us a blessed year, teach us the fear of the Lord, and enable us to taste and see that the Lord is good.

 

Amen.

 

The peace of God…

Soli Deo Gloria

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