Fear and Delight

1 Praise the Lord.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
    who find great delight in his commands.

2 Their children will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
    and their righteousness endures forever.
4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
    for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
    who conduct their affairs with justice.

6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
7 They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
    their righteousness endures forever;
    their horn will be lifted high in honor.

Psalm 112:1-9

Blessed are those who fear the Lord . . . I did my best to find a translation that gave me a more pleasant word than fear, but only the loosest of versions used the words respect, revere, or honor. Even the original Hebrew left off the small marking that would encourage us to use one of those less harsh verbs.

I don’t want anyone to be afraid of our Creator because I want everyone to come to know Him like I do–as a loving Father. To that end, I prefer to soften Psalm 112:1. But for some reason in this instance the Almighty preferred the word fear.

Those of us who’ve experienced the merciful Savior and worshiped His Spirit who comforts, advocates, and encourages find it difficult to think of Yahweh as a God to be feared, and for the ones who haven’t met Him personally, it sounds off-putting. But the Omnipotent King is really too big to ignore this promise of blessings to those who fear Him.

Most humans prefer to see God through their own bent perspective. If God is so loving, He wouldn’t . . . If God is so merciful, He would . . .  We try to define the One who put limits on the oceans and set the sun in place. The created forgets he or she is a speck in the massive expanse of the universe. Because the Master Designer elevated humans to be created in His image, it’s easy to think too highly of ourselves and forget the God we worship is bigger than the cosmos–a starry mass whose ends still confound scientists.

We should laugh and enjoy life with our Heavenly Father, but we can’t allow a comfortable relationship overshadow the knowledge that the Ancient of Days expects to be feared.

Fear keeps us safe. It stops us from jumping off cliffs without a hang glider or putting our hand in a fire. A healthy fear of God trusts the boundaries He’s set, some call them commandments. This Psalm tells us the one who fears God delights in His commands. If we didn’t know any better, that would seem like a contradiction; however, when we have that healthy fear, we understand the loving protection that’s found in those commands. We cherish them and follow them. We mess it up occasionally, but that doesn’t stop us from appreciating the way they enrich our lives.

Then when the One who knows what’s best for us sees that we have learned how to stay within His protective limits, He can pour out His blessings. He can make our children mighty because they won’t abuse their fellow man. He can give us wealth and riches to spread to those in need. It starts to look like we have a charmed life to the ones who refuse to fear God because even when our enemies attack, we have peace–a light shines from us that others can’t explain.

And one day, after we’ve lived the life of fear that brings righteousness, when others pass through to eternal death, we will live forever and the strength we’ve developed in learning to fear the One who grants everlasting life will be honored in the Grand Eternal Kingdom.


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About the author

Lynne feels blessed to know Jesus Christ. He's her Savior and her friend, and because of Christ her life is richer. So her passion has become to help others discover their full potential in Jesus so they can have the best life possible!

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