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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Susan Hanson

Monday, December 20

His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
—Isaiah 11:3

Delight and fear are words that are seldom heard in the same sentence. And yet, when the prophet Isaiah spoke of the Messiah who was to come, he described an individual who embodied both attitudes.

“Fear,” in this case, is actually a kind of awe, an awareness of the “otherness” of God. The one who knows the Divine in this way knows him or herself as creature, as one whose very existence is dependent on the power and grace of that God. How can this possibly be a source of “delight”? Oddly enough, there is peace in knowing ourselves to be contingent beings—not as divine, but as men and women, fully human, fully flesh.

Such was the case with Jesus. Yes, he would come as the Messiah, but he would also come very much as one of us. The difference? Jesus not only believed that he was a being dependent on God; he lived in the truth of that belief. 

And in doing so, he showed us what it means to be truly human, to be at home in our own skins without denying that our lives flow out of the life of God. What we are given, in short, is a freedom from the need to be God ourselves. And in that, there is endless delight.

O God who created us from nothing, help us to take pleasure in our dependence on you, remembering always that in Jesus, you honored our humanity and acknowledged our great need.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2004.