Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. (Psalm 128:1, NKJV)
What does it mean to fear God? Some mistakenly define it as cowering fright. Others, as weak timidity. However, Scripture reveals fearing God to be reverential deference and dreading to displease the Almighty (Psalm 89:7; 111:9; Matthew 10:28). Both knowledge and wisdom begin with fearing God (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). Today’s passage gives succinct insight into what fearing God is and what it causes in one’s life. The person who fears the Lord submits to His will by walking in His ways. Fearing God is about actually living in humble, yielding obedience to the will of God. Defiance in the face of God’s word will never be rewarded with heaven’s blessing. On the other hand, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways” (Psalm 119:1-3; see Psalm 128:2-6). The purpose of life on earth is to “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Are you fulfilling your life’s purpose? If not, now is the time to start fearing God and walking in His ways.
1 Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? … 4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honors those who fear the Lord; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; (Psalm 15:1, 4, NKJV)
As we learn “who may abide” in the restful care and fellowship of the Lord, verse 4 teaches us it is the person who hates evil and loves good (Amos 5:14-15). His moral standard is based on reverence for God and disdain for what is vile. The regard he has for others is not based on whether they are rich or poor, prince or pauper. He exults in those who honor God while he refuses to respect what is morally corrupt. Sin is despicable to him; he is repulsed by what is vile (just as God is, Psa. 11:5). And, like God, he respects those who hold the Almighty in reverential awe. A good measure of our honor for what is good is the degree to which we also despise what is wicked in God’s sight. In a world that called evil good and good evil, God knows the difference (Isa. 5:20). So does the person whom He allows to abide with Him.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. (Psalm 33:18–19, NKJV)
God’s careful, caring eye is constantly on those who fear Him and put their hope in His mercy. He does not forsake the faithful, who “fear God and keep His commandments” (Eccl. 12:13). He is our life source, both in times of abundance and in times of need. Even more than providing for our physical life, God is our only hope for mercy and spiritual life in the wasteland of sin. Trespasses are forgiven and souls are refreshed with living water by His Son, Jesus Christ (Jno. 7:37-38). If you are struggling with the pain and desolation of sin, then put your faith in Jesus and your hope in God. Come to Christ by faith, and “take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). The Lord watches over all who fear Him and hope in His mercy. In Christ, we are “heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:26-29).
1 An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. 2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes, when he finds out his iniquity and when he hates. 3 The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise and to do good. 4 He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not abhor evil.” (Psalm 36:1–4, NKJV)
The sweet psalmist explains a fundamental problem of sinners and sin: they do not fear God. Reverence for God is as foreign to them as water in a desert. Those deceived in sin flatter themselves for their cunning while they are consumed by foolishness. Lies come easy because they do not “abhor evil” (verse 4). We cannot fully “cling to what is good” unless we correspondingly “abhor what is evil” (Rom. 12:9). And that begins with fearing God (Matt. 10:28). Failure to reverence God exalts man in his own eyes, producing contempt for what is good.
In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil. (Proverbs 16:6)
God combines His mercy and truth to provide us atonement for sin. He is a merciful God whose truth reveals and offers reconciliation to every sinner (see Eph. 2:1-7). We must also appreciate the second part of this verse: It is “by the fear of the Lord” that the sinner departs evil so as to be reconciled to God. The gospel of Christ calls upon every sinner to fear God and keep His commandments in order to be saved by His mercy and truth (Eccl. 12:13; Mk. 16:15-16; Heb. 5:8-9). Mercy does not contradict God’s truth. Neither can we claim to fear God while refusing to leave what is evil in His sight.