11 Make your vows to the Lord your God and perform them;
let all around him bring gifts
to him who is to be feared,
12 who cuts off the spirit of princes,
who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.
King’s do a lot of things. They rule. They give orders. They boss people around. They sit on their thrones. But there is one thing that is generally thought unbecoming a king: fear.
I just spent a little time reading a fun little irreverent fiction by Terry Pratchett called Pyramids: A Novel of Discworld. In this text, Pratchett spoofs ancient Egypt, and the power that the people believed their Pharaoh to possess. Even in fiction, there is something enlightening to be found. In this book, I was reminded of how people of this world view their monarchs. It was not uncommon in the times of biblical writing for people to think that their ruler somehow caused the sun to rise. And even today, we look at presidents and governors, and think them invincible to the outside world even if they might find ways to politically ruin themselves.
In light of our unflinching confidence in our rulers, the words of Psalm 76 ought to get our attention. It is appropriate for rulers, kings, the men whom we all know to be in control, to fear God. This is not simply a call for those men to know about God. It is not a call to simply respect God. Rulers, the most powerful men on the planet, are right if they fear God.
Now, think of this in light of the common person. Since I find it doubtful that any global ruler will be reading this devotional post, I think I can safely say that all of us are somehow lower than the rulers of this world. All of us are less powerful and less secure in our social positions. And if God calls kings to fear him, how much more should we fear him? He is the creator. He is the giver of life. He is the one who made us by his power and for his glory. Let us not stand before him self-confident. Let us not think for a moment that we exist by anything other than his pleasure. Let us tremble before the mighty God who has expressed his love for us by giving his Son to pay for our sin. Let us worship the God who has every right to destroy us, but who sustains us for the sake of his name. Let us learn from God’s call for kings to fear him.