Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Serve with Fear, Rejoice with Trembling

Our pastor is teaching through some of the Psalms, so I thought it might be helpful to post some patristic reflections about the texts being used.

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; 
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.  (Ps 2:10-11)

At this point the usefulness of exhortation is applied, and all are summoned to make their approach in haste to believe the Lord.  Now the address is of necessity made to kings, since they were the ones who had more difficulty in believing in Christ and even raised no small problems for others prepared to believe, while setting the frightening prospect of persecution against the approach of faith.  Hence the thrust of that exhortation logically brought pressure to bear on them.… He wishes the service to which he calls them to be not obligatory but voluntary; and on account of his saying, Serve the Lord with fear, he added Rejoice in him with trembling in case he should think that he was requiring that unseemly dread that is characteristic of one’s desperate plight.  By the first clause, where he required devoted service, he wishes to bring out the dignity of the one to be served, because the higher the personage to be obeyed, the greater devotion one brings to his service, whereas in the following clause he brought out by one word rejoicing the subjection of a soul that is not sad, but joyful, and a subjection that would be the cause not of grief but of salvation to those who serve.  When we obey the commands of such a master, you see, we serve the interests of our life and are filled with the benefit of a clearer conscience.

Theodore of Mopsuestia

No comments: