The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. (Proverbs 19:23, NIV)
What a fascinating verse! Concise, straight-forward, and yet hard to grasp. Can it be literally true? Is this the ultimate experience of far more life?
The fear of the Lord. Other translations use respect, reverence, surrender, awe. They all indicate an awareness of God’s authority over us. We recognize Him as the alpha male, our leader. There is competition for this place of prominence in our hearts and minds: we can give our ultimate respect to people instead of God; we can revere power and prestige over Him; we can surrender to a lifestyle of pleasure or ease; we can be in awe of money and its privileges. It is good for us to examine our hearts and ask, “What is my primary object of fear, respect, reverence, surrender and awe? Is it God or something else?” Fear of something is the foundation on which we build our lives. This verse instructs us to place that fear in the Lord. Other verses outline more benefits of following that instruction:
But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. (I Samuel 12:24, NIV)
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. (Psalm 19:9a, NIV)
The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. (Psalm 25:14, NIV)
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. (Psalm 34:7, NIV)
…The Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children. (Psalm 103:17, NIV)
The fear of the Lord adds length to life. (Proverbs 10:27a, NIV)
Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress. (Proverbs 14:26a, NIV)
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. (Isaiah 33:6, NIV)
Leads to life. Whatever we fear (surrender to), it leads to something. Fear of people leads to a compromised life. Fear of power and prestige leads to a consumed life. Fear of pleasure and ease leads to a self-focused life. Fear of money leads to a greedy life. But fear of the Lord leads to far more life, a life marked by integrity, investment, eternal focus, and generosity. Consider these verses about such a life:
Whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39b, NIV)
Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. (John 6:47, NIV)
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. (John 6:63, NIV)
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3, NIV)
You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. (Acts 2:28, NIV)
…Offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. (Romans 6:13, NIV)
…The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20, NIV)
For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (I Thessalonians 4:7, NIV)
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (I John 5:11, NIV)
Then one rests content. It is only after we have placed our fear in the Lord and found far more life that we rest contentedly. This means that we can relax in peace rather than being tied up with anxiety. It means we have joy rather than being afraid or angry about our circumstances It means we are not burdened by the past, present, or future; instead we are free to remember, enjoy, and dream. When God occupies His rightful place in our hearts, everything else falls into place.
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him…Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. (Psalm 62:1, 5, NIV)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, NIV)
…I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices, my body also will rest in hope. (Acts 2:25-26, NIV)
Untouched by trouble. At first glance, this appears to be untrue. Christ-followers are plagued by trouble: health trouble, job trouble, relationship trouble, financial trouble, and more. It certainly does not feel like we are “untouched”. But our eternal security IS untouched by trouble on this earth. And our ability to walk in the Spirit — to experience love, joy and peace and be patient, kind, good, and faithful — remains untouched by trouble. We have the power, through Christ, to view our troubles as He does: momentary light afflictions. When we stay focused on eternity, we can walk through them in far more life.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV)
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9, NIV)
The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. (Psalm 34:19, NIV)
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him (Nahum 1:7, NIV)
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, NIV)
…I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. (2 Corinthians 7:4, NIV)
What is your primary object of fear, respect, reverence, surrender and awe?
Is that leading to temporary things or far more life?
Do you rest content? If not, what is preventing that?
What perspective helps you be untouched by your troubles?
Thank God for offering you far more life today…and every day for eternity!