Today, Tuesday January 31
“The Fear of the LORD”
“Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.
Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
Remember we said earlier that the first part of this Psalm is a song, and the second part is a sermon. In the midst of his trials and troubles David is teaching us a great lesson about how to face life with all its difficulties and how to live and enjoy the “abundant” life that we can only find in the LORD! So far we have learned that we should “Bless the LORD” (vv. 1-3), and we should “Seek the LORD” (vv. 4-8). Today, David is going to ask us as children to come and sit down around him, and he will teach us the “fear of the LORD” (v. 11).
As I have studied through the Scriptures over the years, I have noticed that the phrase, “the fear of the LORD” appears over and over again. Often we read verses like: Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” The phrase, “the fear of the LORD” is found most often in the Book of Proverbs, which is also called the Book of Wisdom.
Proverbs is teaching us how to live life and deals in very practical ways our relationship with both God and the people around us. Solomon begins the book with verses like Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” He tells us in Proverbs 15:33 that, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.” I get the idea that on many occasions David must have sat down with his young son Solomon and said to him, “Come my child, listen to me and I will teach you the fear of LORD.”
No doubt, there can be many aspects to the “fear of the LORD”, but I’ve concluded that the main thing it means is that you have developed and practice “a constant awareness of the presence of the LORD” in your life. If you really believe that Lord Jesus is right there, walking with you, sitting with you, riding with you, eating with you, listening to you, talking to you and that He knows your every thought, I’ll guarantee you that it will impact and affect everything you say and do!
Those who fear the Lord (vv. 7, 9, 11) need not fear anything else, for this is the fear that drives out all fear (Psalm 112:1). When we fear the Lord, He provides all that we need when we need it. Verse 9 is the Old Testament equivalent of Matthew 6:33. "No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly" (Psalm 84:11). God promises to give us what is good for us and to cause all things to work together for good (Rom. 8:28). If we don't receive what we think we need, it means it isn't good for us and we don't need it at this time.
Peter quoted verses 12-14 in 1 Peter 3:10-12, and his instructions in that chapter are basically about our relationships with family members and the people around us. When we practice what both David and Peter are teaching in these verses we can live in peace with others and even ourselves. To “desire life and love many days to see good” (v. 12), means to desire a full life, the abundance life Christ came to give (John 10:10).
This kind of life has little to do with possessions, status, or fame, but it has a lot to do with character, faith, and a desire to honor the Lord. We will seek the Lord and want nothing less than His will for their lives. To cultivate a heart that desires what is good, a heart that delights in the Lord (Psalm 37:4), is the first step toward the life that overflows with the blessing of the Lord.
It is my prayer today that we will have the grace to practice and live in the “fear of the LORD”.