“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” (Psalm 34:11)
This psalm has been a source of great comfort and encouragement to many down through the years. The first section (vv. 1-7) of this acrostic hymn (the first letter of each verse begins with successive letters of the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet) consists of the testimony of one who fears the Lord, and the last section (vv. 16-22) describes the deliverance promised those who do fear the Lord, contrasted with the destinies of those who don’t. In the center section, David explains what it means to fear the Lord and invites all who read to join him in fearing God.
Here, the “fear of the LORD” is not so much an attitude as it is a life commitment. “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?” (v. 12). A God-fearing man or woman desires a long life of ministry to others. “To die is gain” (Philippians 1:21), yes, but we should ask for lengthy opportunities to “see good.”
“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile” (Psalm 34:13). We know that the tongue is capable of incredible harm. The one who fears the Lord should be characterized by a lifestyle of guarded speech.
Not only is our speech to be free from evil, but we are to “depart from evil, and do good” (v. 14) in every area of life as well. Our life’s motive should be to “seek peace, and pursue it.” Attaining peace may not be easy, but we should strive for it.
The results of such a lifestyle should be reward enough, but our gracious Lord promises even more: “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (v. 7).
“O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him” (Psalm 34:9). JDM
From Days of Praise