The Fear of The Lord

In 1933 during the dark days of the depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in a radio speech. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” (George Sweeting, Who Said That? p.196). … More

Fear

This psalm enumerates some of the blessings enjoyed by a person who fears (reverences) the Lord. Then it anticipates the exaltation of the righteous and grievous destruction of the wicked. The contrast between the righteous man and the wicked man marks this as a wisdom psalm. The first  part of the psalm is taken up with the good fortunes of the righteous man (vv. 1-9). However we must not conclude on the basis of this psalm that all believers today can claim health, wealth, success, and happiness if they faithfully obey the Lord, for this promise is not found in the new covenant. In fact the believer described in this psalm had times of darkness (v. 4), occasionally received bad news (v. 7) and had his enemies (vv. 8-10). Instead, under the new covenant we have the promise that our God will meet our needs (Phil. 4:19). Two blessings and one anxiety are listed:

  1. The blessing of the person who fears the Lord (v. 1). The psalmist wrote about the fear of bad news (v. 7) and the fear of the enemy (v. 8), but the first and most important fear is the fear of the Lord.
  2. The blessings of the righteous (vv. 2-9). Five blessings that come to a person who fears the Lord are given:

a.   He is blessed with physical and material prosperity because he is righteous (vv. 2-3).

b.   Light is given even in darkness for the upright (v. 4). Probably refers to discernment.

c.   He receives goodness in return for being generous (v. 9) and just (v. 5).

d.   He will be established in his faith with no fear of what man might do to him (vv. 6-8).

e.   Because he gives to the poor (v. 5) he will be made strong and honorable by the Lord.

  3. The anxiety of the wicked (v. 10). In contrast with the blessings of the God-fearing, the wicked will be filled with anxiety over God’s goodness to the righteous. Those who walk with the Lord and live godly lives are often opposed and hated by the wicked, because the good works of the godly are like lights that reveal the evil in the world (Matt. 5:14-16).

Application

If I expect God’s blessings I must revere Him and gladly obey Him. He knows what is best for me. I never want my life to be controlled by fear.

Psalms 112:1-10 (English Standard Version)


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