What the Righteous Fear & Don't Fear

I got to thinking about this when someone recently came to see me for counsel. He had been wracked by a pretty bad set of circumstances. It bothered him greatly that his anxious reaction seemed over the top. He was undone. Every time he gets a text lately his heart skips a beat for fear of more bad news. I can identify at times. Can’t you?

We turned to Psalm 112:6-8.

6 For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
7 He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

What the godly don’t fear is bad news. The psalmist works overtime to express the rock solid immovability of one who trusts in God. Never be moved. Remembered forever. Heart is firm, steady. He will not be afraid.

Charles Spurgeon commented on v. 7 in his Treasury of David:

He shall have no dread that evil tidings will come, and he shall not be alarmed when they do come. Rumours and reports he despises; prophecies of evil, vented by fanatical mouths, he ridicules; actual and verified information of loss and distress he bears with equanimity, resigning everything into the hands of God. His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. He is neither fickle nor cowardly; when he is undecided as to his course he is still fixed in heart: he may change his plan, but not the purpose of his soul. His heart being fixed in solid reliance upon God, a change in his circumstances but slightly affects him; faith has made him firm and steadfast, and therefore if the worst should come to the worst, he would remain quiet and patient, waiting for the salvation of God.

Where does this kind of poise and power under trial come from?

Verse one has the answer.

Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who greatly delights in his commandments!

What the godly do fear is God. The parallelism of the Hebrew poetry suggests that to fear God is to greatly delight in His commandments like Be anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6) and Trust in Him at all times (Psalm 62:8) and Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God (Isa. 41:10).

Again Spurgeon comments:

Jehovah is so great that he is to be feared and had in reverence of all them that are round about him, and he is at the same time so infinitely good that the fear is sweetened into filial love, and becomes a delightful emotion, by no means engendering bondage. There is a slavish fear which is accursed; but that godly fear which leads to delight in the service of God is infinitely blessed. Jehovah is to be praised both for inspiring men with godly fear and for the blessedness which they enjoy in consequence thereof.

One component of the blessedness which comes with fearing God by trusting Him is not being afraid of bad news, not being moved by hard providences.

Praise the Lord if you and I are so situated.

2 responses

  1. Oh that we had nothing to fear but fear of the Lord! I think that I often fear financial woes, the praise of men and being ‘liked’ by them, failing in the workplace or school, etc. more than I fear the idea of wasting my life on inferior pleasures or selfish indulgences. Pray for me, that I will fear God rightly and intensely and that my life will be used ultimately and to the greatest degree for His glory alone! Some days I would love to just sell most everything I own and take my family to Africa or Asia and serve there. Other times I want to stay and fight for truth and righteousness and the right proclamation of the Gospel here in Oregon. Please pray that God will guide me and that I will be secure in His will and satisfied with whatever He grants. Thanks so much, Pastor Curt! You and your family and church family are in my prayers. I love and miss you guys! Rick

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