The fear of the LORD leads to life;
then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
When someone has no fear of authority, he is capable of committing any kind of mischief. While the word fear is intimately associated with the idea of being afraid, it is also associated with feeling respect and reverence towards a person, a situation, an animal or an object. You may have heard the expression “I do not fear the sea, but I respect it.” Well, this is more or less the sense of the word fear as used in today’s passage. The Merriam-Webster Online dictionary defines fear as “profound reverence and awe especially toward God”. Another meaning for the word fear is “un unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”, the latter being the most common use for this word. The fear of the Lord consists of reverence, respect and the obedience that necessarily arises from the first two. Returning to today’s passage, we see that the result or outcome of showing fear ─reverence, awe─ toward what God represents ─justice, discipline, correction, etc.─ is a quiet life that is free of problems.
Is this not the life we all seek? Why, then, so few can achieve the goal of a peaceful and contented life? The answer is that very few people are moving down the path of the fear of God and even when directed to do so, they assume that fear involves apprehension or terror. In consequence, they end up in a state of anguish worse than what they were experiencing before. Let us draw near to God with fear ─respect, reverence, obedience─ and we will be following the path of life. Only Jesus Christ, who defeated death, can give you life and life in abundance. To God alone be the glory!