This Week's Focus Passage

‘Blessed is the man that feareth Jehovah.’

Focus Passage: Psalm 112

‘Blessed is the man that feareth Jehovah.’

Very sadly, the expressions, ‘the fear of God,’ or the similarly-minded, ‘God-fearing man,’ are almost antiquated terms in our American society today. There was such a time not that many decades past. Regardless of what may have been construed by the individuals employing these expressions; whether they may have been expressions that truly expressed individual concerns about what God may have, or may not have, thought about the actions of these folk, nonetheless; they were still in the vocabulary and there was at least something of a residual recognition of such a thing as the fear of God. David speaks elsewhere of those of whom he says ‘there is no fear of God’ in them, and this is spoken of them disparagingly, while Paul cites, from that Psalm, the same sentiment in an identically negative manner. There is something wrong with people that do not fear God; that have no fear of God in their hearts. There is something out of place with such hearts; they are not right.

In our society, we have great difficulty with considering fear as a good thing; we almost entirely think of it in a negative sense as a bad thing. And yet, David speaks of fear as both a bad thing, as well as a good thing. And that which determines whether it is bad or good is indeed the heart of the individual, or we might even say, the motive force behind the attitude. To put it in another manner, does one love, or does one hate, the object of their fear? To fear one that you love is not, in any way, the same with the fear that resides in the hearts of the many whose fear is accompanied by hatred. The fear of one whom we love is really the fear of displeasing or disappointing that loved one; it is not in any way the sort of fear that anticipates judgment or wrath as the result of our behavior. This is the very fear that a caring child would have for the parent that they love dearly. They do not wish to bring them any pain, any grief; they genuinely fear doing so because of the love they bear toward them. Long after that junior age has passed when physical punishment was sometimes the expected result from ill behavior, for the child truly loving the parent, there remains this fear of bringing any sadness, any displeasure upon them. The child desires that the parent rather be pleased with their actions. For the child of God, this is the fear that is spoken of respecting their Father in heaven.

This is, indeed, the fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom. It is with such an understanding that His people may know what it is to serve Jehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling. How otherwise could David speak in multiple instances so favorably of fearing God as he has in Psalm 25?

What man is he that feareth Jehovah? Him shall he instruct in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the land. The friendship of Jehovah is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.—vss. 12-14.

How could this fear possibly be likened unto the fear of God that is resident in the one who hates God; the unbeliever? No, this one is instructed in the way that God shall choose, and he delights in it. He and his seed are able to dwell at ease as they anticipate the promised inheritance. God has made these that do so fear Him to be His very friends as we see exemplified in the Scriptures when Jesus Himself refers to the brother of Mary and Martha as ‘Our friend Lazarus is dead,’ John 11:11, and James under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit advises us that Abraham ‘was called the friend of God,’ James 2:23. These friends are, moreover, the very ones unto whom God will show His covenant. One of the particulars of friendship is, indeed, sharing secrets. God calls His people His friends and He shares with them His secrets, He shows them His covenant; He opens up glorious mysteries unto them of which the world knows nothing. The 17th century pastor/commentator, David Dickson, has well said in his comments upon this 25th psalm;

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him,” etc. Albeit the Lord’s covenant with the visible church be open, and plain in itself to all men in all the articles thereof, yet it is a mystery to know the inward sweet fellowship which a soul may have with God by virtue of this covenant; and a man fearing God shall know this mystery, when such as are covenanters only in the letter do remain ignorant thereof; for to fearers of God only is this promise made—that to them the Lord will show his covenant.

No wonder then that David is so bold and unconstrained as to be able to declare in the verse of our focus, Blessed is the man that fearerth Jehovah. To have every one of the privileges of salvation and friendship with God through Jesus Christ with the indispensable assistance of the One whom Christ has sent from the Father to take the things of Christ and to show them to us—is this not largely what is involved in God’s showing us His covenant?—to guide and direct us in the way that He would have us to go. He has set our feet upon the paths of righteousness for His own Name’s sake. Those that fear God may thus walk through the valleys of the shadow of death and fear no evil for God is with His friends.

Is such a fear of displeasing God the only responsibility of those whom God blesses? How is this fear of displeasing Him to be practically demonstrated? Has not our Lord Jesus Christ Himself told us how it is to be? Is this not precisely what He told us when He said, If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments? We do not keep His commandments out of fear, but because we love Him. And this is how the blessed man blesses Jehovah in the return of love, remembering that this is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.—Ecclesiastes 12:13.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

Leave a Comment

Comments for this post have been disabled.


Join us Sunday at