The Fear of the Lord and the Satisfied Life

A Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life (v. 16a).

A1  The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm (v. 23).

A and A1 give parallel meanings. To keep God’s command is the same as the fear of God. To obey God’s commands is to fear God. To fear God is to obey God’s commands.

Both lead to life—the satisfied life. The word, “satisfied” (Heb. ’abea), means, “to be satisfied by nourishment, or abounding” (TWOT) in God’s favor.

The word is also translated, “full.” Thus, in Ex. 30:8, the Lord gave manna to Israel in “full” [abea]. In Gen. 25:8, Abraham dies old and “full of years.” Positively, the satisfied life is the life lived full of God’s favor. Negatively, however, the same word, abea, means, full of trouble. Job 14:1, “Man who is born of a woman is full [abea] of trouble.”

Now compare the words, “die” in A, and “harm” in A1. To despise God’s commands is to die. To not fear God is to bring harm to your life. But to obey God’s commands is to live. To fear God is to live the satisfied life.

Thus, to die is to live an unsatisfied and unfilled, empty life. It is to live a life full of trouble, lacking the favor of God. To not fear God is to bring trouble to yourself.

Do you desire to live a satisfied life in the favor of God? Then fear God today!

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The Fear of the Lord and the Disciplined Life

B Whoever is generous [gracious] to the poor lends to the Lord (v. 17a).

C   Discipline your son, for there is hope (v. 18a).

C1 A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you   deliver [rescue] him, you will only have to do it again (v. 19).

B1 A poor man is better than a liar (vv. 22b).

B and B1 give complementary meanings. The adjective, “generous” (Heb. hanan), means, “to show favor; be gracious.” (BDB) Do you show favor to the poor? If you favor the poor, you lend to the Lord. You make God your debtor. Because God is indebted to you, He will pay you back (v. 17b).

In B1, better to be poor than to be dishonest. Think about it for a moment.

Andres Cabanit, a 68-year-old taxi driver, of Bgy. Kalunasan, Cebu City, returned P1 million worth of valuables left in the cab by a Norwegian national last Aug. 2006. However, Cabanit instructed his daughter Susan to do it. Susan . . . went to the radio station to return the blue bag containing two laptop computers, a video camera, a digital camera, three cell phones, a navigator, passport and other important documents and P58,000 cash. . . .

Susan admitted that her father refused to return the bag personally because he was afraid. Her father only divulged the information a day after when he got drunk.

The radio station contacted Rolf Tommeraz, 61, who later claimed his belongings. Tommeraz gave the family of Cabanit P20,000 as reward. Susan cried upon receiving the money. She told how poor their family is and they were tempted to keep the items and cash. They did not expect the reward.[1]

Are you poor but honest? Better to be poor but honest, than to be dishonest. Better to be a poor man than to be a lying man. Poverty is better than no integrity.

C and C1 concern the wrongdoing of a son or an angry man. The son is to be disciplined. The angry man is to pay the penalty. It speaks about suffering the consequences of your actions. If you do wrong, be ready to face the consequences.

Now if you discipline the wrongdoing son, there is hope. But if you do not discipline him or the angry man, if you deliver or rescue him, you will only have to do it again. He will do it again, and you will have to save him again. If you keep on saving him, he will just stress you out. But if you correct him, there is hope. He may stop doing it, giving you peace of mind.

How many times have we saved our kids from discipline? Save them from correction, and you will have to do it again. They will just do it again, causing us stress.

This is a good lesson about church discipline. If a member commits a serious sin, we must discipline him. The object is to restore him. But restoration requires repentance. Repentance requires discipline. He must pay the penalty for his actions. But rescue a sinning member, and you’ll have to do it again.


[1] Michelle, “Cabbie yields foreigner P1M valuables,” Aug. 9, 2006. Cited Feb. 4, 2012. Online: http://manilajournal.com/ 2006/08/09/cabbie-yields-foreigner%E2%80%99s-p1m-valuables/.

The Better Life — 3

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice (Prov. 16:8). “Little,” is compared with “great revenues.” “Righteousness” is compared with “injustice.”

How do some people make money through injustice today? Some make money by paying unjust salaries to their workers. Some make money by getting a percentage in government projects.

It is better to gain little money by doing right, than gaining much money through lying, cheating, and stealing. Neither prosperity nor poverty is good by itself. What makes it better is the fear of the Lord in it, as manifested in one’s personal integrity.

Thus, the better life is not prosperity through corruption, but little money through personal integrity.

The Fear of the Lord and the Better Life — 2

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it (Prov. 15:17). A“dinner of herbs” is compared to a “fattened ox.” “Love” is compared to “hatred.” Thus, it is better to eat a dinner of herbs with love in it, than a dinner of fattened ox with hatred in it. Here, the spiritual is better than the material.

Remember the old saying, “Bahala na saging, basta loving”? (It’s okay to eat bananas, so long as we love each other.”) I said before that this is a recipe for poverty. It is wrong to get married without preparing for it. You will end up eating bananas, though with love in it.

On the other hand, it is better to eat bananas with love, than lechon (roasted pig) with hatred in it.

Thus, the better life is not a rich home, but a loving home.

The Fear of the Lord and the Better Life –1

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it (Prov. 15:16). In this “better” saying, the first word of the verse is the word, “better” (Heb. tob), which means, “gooder” than good. If something is better, it is superior compared to another.

Now the fear of God produces a better life. In Prov. 15:16, the “little” is compared to “great treasure.” The “fear of God” is compared to “trouble.”The word, “trouble” (Heb. mehuma), means, “disturbance” of mind (BDB)–the opposite of peace of mind.  Indeed, more money can disturb your mind!

This implies that the fear of God brings peace of mind. But no fear of God brings turmoil of mind. Fear God, and you have peace of mind even with little money. Do not fear God, and you have turmoil of mind though you have much money.

Therefore, the better life is not in troubled prosperity, but in peaceful piety.

The Fear of the Lord as the Fountain of Life

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death (Prov. 14:27). The “fountain of life” means the source of life. The fear of the Lord is the source of life.

When you fear the Lord, you are wise. When you are wise, you will turn from the “snares of death.” In this way, the fear of God is a fountain or source of life.

The word, “snares” (Heb. moqesh), means, “bait” for birds. (BDB) It refers to anything that traps you and destroys you. Thus, Prov. 29:6, “an evil man is ensnared in his transgression.” This means that your sin traps you and destroys you. Prov. 29:25, “The fear of man lays a snare.” Your fear of other people traps you. Prov. 20:25, “It is a snare to say rashly.” Your tendency to say rash words or to make promises traps you.

What are the snares of death in your life today? Perhaps it is sex and sexy girls. For others, it is money and power. For many poor people, it is gambling in the state lottery. For some, it is pride and prejudice. But if you fear God, you will turn away from these snares.

The fear of the Lord gives you life while avoiding death.

The Fear of God and the Confident Life

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge (Prov. 14:26).

In Prov. 14:26, the word, “confidence” (Heb. mibtah) means, having a positive feeling of confidence resulting from having someone that you can trust absolutely. (TWOT)

Sometimes, my 10 yr. old daughter, Jan Marie, would ask me to go up the stairs with her. She doesn’t want to be there alone in the second floor. So she calls me to go up with her. She has that positive feeling that someone she trusts is there with her. Confidence involves the feeling of being safe and secure.

Thus, in the fear of God is the feeling of strong confidence in God. Because you fear God, you feel that life will be all right because God will see you through. You feel safe and secure from the storms coming your way. You know that God will be there for you.

In the fear of the Lord, your children will also find refuge. When you feel confident in God, your whole family will know it. You are the key to your family’s confidence.

When you fear God, your kids will find God as their refuge. The word, “refuge” (Heb. mahseh), means, “shelter” or “place of refuge.” The picture here is that of defenseless soldiers who run to the high hills to take refuge or protection from the enemy. The “safe height” or “strong rock” becomes the place of refuge for the helpless soldier for protection. That is why the word, “refuge,” is a synonym of “stronghold” (Prov. 10:29). (TWOT)

When you make God your refuge, your stronghold, you acknowledge before God your helplessness. You accept that you are insecure without Him. You admit that God is your stronghold and security.

The Fear of the Lord and the Upright Life

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down (14:1).

B Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises him (14:2).

A1 By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them (14:3).

The text talks about the effect of wisdom and folly. A and A1 give parallel meanings. In v. 1, wisdom builds a house. But folly destroys it. In v. 3, wisdom preserves the wise. But folly hurts the foolish.

Yet the main point is in v. 2. The one who walks in uprightness fears the Lord. The word, “uprightness” (Heb. yashar) means, “straightness,” or “rightness” (BDB). The upright man is one who follows God’s law. He walks in the straight paths of God’s law.

Conversely, one who is “devious” (Heb. luz) is one who “turns aside” or “departs” (BDB) from the straight paths of God’s law. Thus, the fear of the Lord is manifested in a straight life. But despising the Lord is seen in a crooked life.

What is the writer saying here? If you do what is right, you will bring good to your life. If you do what is wrong, you will bring bad to your life. But your attitude towards God, whether you fear God or despise God, is the determining factor of what is good or bad.[1]

It is good that your wisdom builds a house. It is bad that your folly destroys it. It is good that your wise words preserve your life. It is bad that your foolish words punish you. But at the end of the day, what makes it good or bad is whether you fear God or not.

The confirmation that you fear God is your upright life. The evidence that you fear God is your obedience to God. The proof that you fear God is your straight walk with God.


[1] Garrett, Proverbs, 140.

The Fear of the Lord and Long Life — 2

The fear of the Lord prolongs [adds strength] life, but the years of the wicked will be short (10:27).

The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish (10:28).

A1 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers (10:29)

B1 The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land (10:30)

The lack of the fear of God shortens the life of the wicked (v. 27). Their life is short in quality, lacking the strength of God.

Also, the way of the Lord brings destruction upon them (v. 29). The word, “destruction” (Heb. mehitta) basically means, “to be broken,” carrying ideas of fear or demoralization (TWOT). Thus, as the fear of God adds strength to the righteous, the way of God brings fear or discouragement to the wicked.

In B, the phrase, “brings joy” (Heb. imha), means, “glad result” (BDB) Because the righteous fears the Lord, his hope results in joy. If you fear the Lord, your hopes will be fulfilled. Because your hopes are fulfilled, you will be joyful. Your life will be a life of fulfillment, not disappointment. Your life will be a life of satisfaction, not dissatisfaction.

In B1 (v. 30), the verb, “removed” (Heb. mot), means, “shaken.” The word is used of a pole (Heb. mota), which shakes when the bearer carries it, because of the heavy fruits tied to it. The picture is about the righteous living secure in the land, compared to the insecure living of the wicked.

However, the hope of the wicked will “perish,” or be unfulfilled. His hopes will be unfulfilled for he will not dwell in the land. This is a picture of an insecure, shaky, unfulfilled life.

If you fear God, He will add strength to your life. The Lord is your stronghold, your protection. You dwell secure in the land. You will never be shaken! You are secure and immoveable in the hands of the Lord!

The Fear of the Lord and Long LIfe

This week, we shall study the Fear of the Lord in relation to the four kinds of life in Proverbs. The first kind of life is long life, i.e., the life of strength.

The fear of the Lord prolongs [adds strength] life, but the years of the wicked will be short (10:27).

The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish (10:28).

A1 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers (10:29)

B1 The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land (10:30)

Note that A1 clarifies A, as B1 explains B. Thus, the fear of the Lord is the way of the Lord. The verb, “prolongs” (from Heb. yosep, “to add,” where we get the name, “Joseph”), means, “add strength” or “grow stronger.” (BDB) It is a qualitative, not quantitative, strength. Otherwise, those who fear God will live longer. The fear of God adds strength to the life of the righteous.

A couple had been married for 50 years. “Things have really changed,” she said. “You used to sit very close to me.”

“Well, I can remedy that,” he said, moving next to her on the couch.

“And you used to hold me tight.”

“How’s that?” he asked as he gave her a hug.

“Do you remember you used to nudge my neck and nibble on my ear loves?”

He jumped to his feet and left the room. “Where are you going?”

“I’ll be right back,” he said. “I’ve got to get my teeth!” [1]

Whether or not we will lose our teeth in old age, the fear of the Lord shall give us the strength of the Lord. The source of our strength is the Lord.

A1 gives the same meaning to A. The way of the Lord is a “stronghold” (Heb. ma’oz), which means, “a place of safety” or “protection.” Hence, the fear of the Lord adds strength to the righteous. This strength comes from God—the stronghold of the righteous.


[1] “Old Age.” Cited January 21, 2012. Online: http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/o/old_age.htm.