Verse 11. Serve the Lord with fear; let reverence and humility be mingled with your service. He is a great God, and ye are but puny creatures; bend ye, therefore, in lowly worship, and let a filial fear mingle with all your obedience to the great Father of the Ages.
Rejoice with trembling -- There must ever be a holy fear mixed with the Christian's joy. This is a sacred compound, yielding a sweet smell, and we must see to it that we burn no other upon the altar. Fear, without joy, is torment; and joy, without holy fear, would be presumption.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 11. Serve the Lord with fear. This fear of God qualifies our joy. If you abstract fear from joy, joy will become light and wanton; and if you abstract joy from fear, fear then will become slavish. William Bates, D.D., 1625-1699.
Verse 11. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. There are two kinds of serving and rejoicing in God. First, a serving in security, and a rejoicing in the Lord without fear; these are peculiar to hypocrites, who are secure, who please themselves, and who appear to themselves to be not unuseful servants, and to have great merit on their side, concerning whom it is said ( Psalms 10:5 ), "Thy judgments are far above out of his sight;" and also afterwards ( Psalms 36:1 ), "There is no fear of God before his eyes." These do righteousness without judgment at all times; and permit not Christ to be the Judge to be feared by all, in whose sight no man living is justified. Secondly, a serving with fear and a rejoicing with trembling; these are peculiar to the righteous who do righteousnesses at all times, and always rightly attempter both; never being without judgments, on the one hand, by which they are terrified and brought to despair of themselves and of all their own works; nor without that righteousness on the other, on which they rest, and in which they rejoice in the mercy of God. It is the work of the whole lives of these characters to accuse themselves in all things, and in all things to justify and praise God. And thus they fulfil that word of Proverbs 28:14 , "Blessed is the man that feareth alway;" and also that of Php 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord alway." Thus, between the upper and nether millstone (De 24:6), they are broken in pieces and humbled, and the husks being thus bruised off, they come forth the all pure wheat of Christ. Martin Luther.
Verse 11. The fear of God promotes spiritual joy; it is the morning star which ushers in the sunlight of comfort. "Walking in the fear of God, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost." God mingles joy with fear, that fear may not be slavish. Thomas Watson, 1660.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 11. Mingled experience. See the case of the women returning from the sepulchre. Matthew 28:8 . This may be rendered a very comforting subject, if the Holy Spirit direct the mind of the preacher.
True religion, a compound of many virtues and emotions.