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Jul 25, 2021

The Blessed Shall Live by Fear

The Blessed Shall Live by Fear

Passage: Psalms

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Ascend

Keywords: fear, blessing, labor, fruitfulness

Our english word “fear” usually implies terror. But when we read it in scripture it has far more nuance--so much so that we find that what it means is the basis for blessing. What is this fear? What blessings accompany it? How does it find a place in us to good effect?

Readings & Scripture

Leader: Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty!
All: Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.
Leader: Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name?
All: For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you!
—from Revelation 15:3-4, NIV

CONFESSION OF SIN (adapted from The Worship Sourcebook)
Eternal God, whose covenant with us is never broken:
We confess that we have failed to fulfill your will for us.
Though you have bound yourself to us,
we have not bound ourselves to you.
We confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole hearts;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
God, heal us from the fears that tear us apart.
Lead us once again to your table,
and unite us to Christ,
who is the bread of life
and the vine from which we grow in grace.
To Christ be praise forever. Amen.

The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
As a father has compassion for his children,
so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him.
For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. —Psalm 103:8, 13-14, 17-18, NRSV

BENEDICTION: by Cornelius Plantinga Jr.
Leader: God go before you to lead you, God go behind you to protect you,
God go beneath you to support you, God go beside you to befriend you.
Do not be afraid. May the blessing of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be upon you.
Do not be afraid. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
The peace of the Lord be with you all.
People: And also with you.


  • 2 Chronicles 19:9
  • Job 28:28
  • Psalm 19:9
  • Proverbs 1:7, 22:4
  • Acts 9:31
  • 2 Corinthians 5:11
  • 1 Timothy 6:13-16
  • Hebreww 5:7
  • Hebrews 12:28


What human in your life have you most revered (don’t say Jesus)? Why them? In what ways have you expressed that deep admiration and respect?


  • Biblical justice compels us to see ourselves on both sides of God’s justice: we must move to uphold righteousness and see that sin is condemned, crime punished, and victims restored, while at the same time refraining from viewing criminals and abusers as ‘other’ or fundamentally different from ourselves—for evil lies within our hearts as well. - Rachel Denhollander
  • Servile fear, such as the slave has for his master, which consists in fleeing punishment without faith and without a desire and purpose of changing the life, being accompanied with despair, flight and separation from God—such a servile fear differs greatly from that which is filial. 1. Filial fear arises from confidence and love to God; that which is servile arises from a knowledge and conviction of sin, and from a sense of the judgment and displeasure of God. 2. Filial fear does not turn away from God, but hates sin above everything else, and fears to offend God: servile fear is a flight and hatred, not of sin, but of punishment and of the divine judgment, and so of God himself. 3. Filial fear is connected with the certainty of salvation and of eternal life: servile fear is a fear and expectation of eternal condemnation and rejection of God, and is great in proportion to the doubt and despair which it entertains of the grace and mercy of God. This is the fear of devils and wicked men, and is the commencement of eternal death, which the ungodly experience already in this life. “I heard thy voice in the garden and I was afraid.” “The devils believe and tremble.” - Jacob Ursinus