The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm. (Proverbs 19:23 ESV)
The fear of the Lord leads to life…
Whoever has (the fear of the Lord) rests satisfied…
He (who has the fear of the Lord) will not be visited by harm.
Does doubt creep into your mind, as it does mine, when you consider these bold statements?
What kind of life follows the fear of the Lord? How can a person who has the fear of the Lord sleep contentedly? Was there ever a person whose life was not visited by harm?
When I read verses like this, which I don’t quickly grasp, I trust God and the veracity of his word. It will hold up under scrutiny.
O Lord, give me insight.
This proverb only makes sense if we have a right understanding of the phrase, fear of the Lord.
Whenever God – or his messengers – come into contact with humans, the first communication is usually, “Do not be afraid.” (Genesis 15:1; Daniel 10:11-13; Matthew 28: 5,10; Luke 1:13, 30; Acts 18:9; Revelation 1:17) Doubtless, the heavenly are fearful to behold.
And in response to Moses’ request to see the God’s glory, God said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”(Exodus 33:20 ESV)
The Creator of the Universe, the Most High and Holy God is far greater than our senses can handle – we cannot fathom his power or glory. His word is energy – constructive and destructive.
Has a hurricane, earthquake, or tsunami ever brought you to your knees? God is more powerful. Simply seeing him would kill us. God’s power alone should evoke fear.
Yet, Proverbs 19:23, says those who fear the Lord rest satisfied.
In light of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I find an answer to the seemingly contrasting emotions – fear and peace. The Bible says, God is love, and perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. (I John 4:16, 18 ESV)
In our sin, we cannot stand before our Holy God. We are condemned and deserve his wrath. But, because of his steadfast and perfect love, he sent Jesus Christ to stand in our stead and take the wrath we all deserve. In Christ’s resurrection not only are our sins forgiven, but we have received the righteousness of Jesus.
In this miraculous exchange, we can come confidently to the throne of God and call him Abba, Daddy. God, who’s authority causes us to tremble in fear, is also our Father who loves and disciplines us as his children.
If you are in Christ, rejoice with me. We have new life! We rest satisfied! We will not be visited by real harm – because our Heavenly Father is in control and our future is secure in him.