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July 20, 2009
"The Amethyst Ring"
That morning was a turning point in my life with God. (See devotional July 6, "The Amethyst Ring" Part 1) Learning and walking in the fear of the Lord wipes out the fear of man. I began making lists of verses with "the fear of the Lord" in it. Hundreds of references, and then I wrote them out in long-hand, mulling them over in my mind. I discovered that the fear of the Lord fell into categories. I started making new lists with the categories and putting a code by the verses. It grew and grew. And as it grew, so did my hope! And with my hope came a longing to have the fear of the Lord active in my life.
"Go back, Arlita," the Holy Spirit seemed to be saying to me. "Find out where David was when he wrote that Psalm!" (I Samuel 21) Here we find an astonishing story where David flees from King Saul to the town of Achish, in Gath. This is where the giant, Goliath came from. David had been anointed King of Israel but not yet crowned. Some of the servants recognized him and said,
"Is this not David the King's son in law? Did not the people sing of him in dances, 'Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands!'"
David hears the servants and becomes terrified of the King of Gath. David plays the fool with singular success! He feigns madness and changes his behavior. He crawls up the walls, scrabbles at the gates, and saliva drools down his beard. When we are controlled by fear we do stupid and foolish things. Fear immobilizes us. It is oppressive. It is full of torment.
The King of Gath drives him away and he flees to the cave of Adullum - a hidden place in the mountains not far from the Dead Sea. Desert surrounds this mountain range. Tucked up high in the crevices are caves with hidden springs and waterfalls. Ferns, mosses and date trees grow in abundance. For centuries the waterfalls have tumbled down and made pools that are quiet. Little hart (small deer), panting after the water brooks, can often be found drinking in safety. It is here that David composes the poem, Psalm 34, to commemorate the event. It is well to mark our mercies with memorials.
Psalm 34 (ESV) prescribes an antidote to our fears. The antidote is The Fear of the Lord - turning our paralyzed selves to be free, joyful, and productive children of the reigning monarch, King Jehovah!
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