In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,
and his children will have a refuge.
The fear of the Lord produces confidence, for to properly fear the Lord is to recognize him as the Sovereign God who rules over his creation for his glory. It is to recognize that nothing takes place outside his control and that he always carries out his will, a will that is higher than our understanding as the heavens are higher than the earth.
To love the Lord without fearing him produces a mixed attitude of enjoying God in good times and feeling the same anxiety that unbelievers feel in hard times. Such an attitude is inevitable with a philosophy that God means well but can’t guarantee our welfare. To fear God is to know his power to do as he pleases; and because we also know that God is love – because we know him as our Father – we can trust that whatever he pleases is for our good. All the more reason then to fear him. For unlike us who will defer doing what we know to be best for others because we don’t have the heart to bear their suffering, God will do what is best regardless of how we may feel about it.
And so, as a good Father who chastises his children for their good, so our heavenly Father will put us through trials and suffering for our good. And so we fear God, but we fear him with confidence that in his hands only our good will be accomplished and that no one, especially the evil one, will ever snatch us out. That is the refuge that we may pass on to our children – to fear (and to trust) the Lord.
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