Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways! (Psalm 128:1 ESV)
I read Psalm 128 this morning and I’ve been thinking about this verse from time to time today. The idea here is that there is some sort of good that follows people who fear God.
Usually, when we think about “fear of the LORD,” there are probably a couple of things that come to mind. Maybe we think about being scared by God related to something. Maybe we think about how we have feared other people and we assign the same type of fear to how we think about God. Or perhaps we think that God is trying to warn us in some way.
When we do consider the “fear of the LORD,” though, this thought should run through our mind:
God has the power and the authority to send us to hell.
When a judge in an American court room hands down a verdict he is exhibiting his authority, but I’m guessing most judges would not climb down from the bench, handcuff the guilty and lead him off to jail. There are, of course, different reasons for that, but an obvious one is that most judges would not be strong enough to manhandle the guilty. But God is not like that.
God has the authority to judge us. When He judges us, His judgment is always righteous and holy. But He also has the power to execute the judgment on us. We are never fugitives from God’s justice and we can’t out run His pronouncements. When it’s our time to die we will and God has the power to carry out what He has decreed.
Because of this power and authority God has, we should “fear the LORD.” If we know these things about God, why would we not fear Him?
But there are some other benefits that come with “fearing the LORD” besides avoiding hell. As James MacDonald often reminds us, when we choose to sin, we choose to suffer. Though we may know Jesus Christ as our Savior, there may be times when we do not choose to honor Him and it’s in these times that we create suffering for ourselves.
And if it’s true that sin causes suffering, then it is true that obedience causes blessing. If we choose to abstain from sex outside of marriage or sex before marriage, then we for sure avoid certain problems caused by these sins. If we choose to avoid anger, then we avoid the consequences of this sin. If we choose to avoid drunkenness then we avoid the problems caused by drunken carousing.
Life is hard and obedience isn’t always easy, but there is indeed a promise of blessing when we choose to honor our LORD.