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the shepherd's rod

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine. (Psalm 33:18-19 ESV)
There's an unusual parallelism here: "those who fear him" are equated with "those who hope in his steadfast love." We don't normally associate fear with hope and love.

The context is deliverance from the fear of Israel's enemies, but the principle is the same: the fear of the Lord frees us from all other fears. For example, when we revere Christ as the resurrected Lord, the One who will also raise our bodies, then we will be delivered from the fear of death. In this way fear and hope are united.


It is our humble reverence toward the Lord that sets us free, and we must see the goodness of being submitted to God. We must see God's love behind all of his commandments. William Still calls this "the gracious domination of the fear of God":

"All our will and effort must be bent to this end of remaining under the gracious domination of the fear of God, but only those who see the grace which lies behind the law will outlast Satan's attempts at our downfall. ... It is the fear of the Lord which both restrains the presumption of fallen human beings and leads them into the paths or righteousness, true peace and prosperity; there they discover that such a fear is the shepherd's rod by which God would guide them into the knowledge of his love." (Through the Year with William Still, pp 30-31)


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