How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord
Psalm 128 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Blessedness of the Fear of the Lord.
How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.
2 When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands,
You will be happy and it will be well with you.
3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house,
Your children like olive plants
Around your table.
4 Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the Lord.
5 The Lord bless you from Zion,
And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
6 Indeed, may you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!
A few days ago we saw that the fear of the Lord was the beginning of wisdom. We saw that because of God’s great love, mercy and grace, many people today have lost the fear, the respect and the reverence of the Lord. God does desire that we have an intimate love relationship with Him. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. The intimacy we have with God, that we can call Him Abba Father, Daddy, is only because He first loved us. He loves us with an unconditional and everlasting love. His love is unconditional in that it is not based on merit. It is not that we have earned or deserve the intimate relationship with Him. Instead: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) When we think that we are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace, to climb right up into the loving arms of Abba, only because of the suffering and the blood of Jesus, we should indeed be filled with love and also with reverence. We should be eternally grateful for the everlasting love. We should respond to love with love, but we should never presume on grace. If the righteousness and justice of God were so important that Jesus needed to die for us, we should never take lightly or casually the privilege we have of our intimacy with God. We should never lose sight of our fear of the Lord; our respect; our reverence and our eternal gratitude.
Today, the psalmist says: How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways. The blessings that we receive when we fear the Lord are not brought about because we are obedient to Him so that we do not receive punishment. We walk in His ways not out of fear of retribution, but rather because of the intimacy He desires to have with us. He says: The Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6) In Psalm 23 the psalmist says: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. There is nothing else we should fear, if we fear the Lord and walk in His ways. He is there to guide us and to protect us. If we walk with Him, we walk the path of His righteousness. The rod and the staff of the Lord, His guidance, His direction and even His correction should not cause us fear, but rather comfort. If we walk with Him, goodness and loving kindness will follow us because we are protected, dwelling and abiding with and in Him. We are blessed not because we are obedient for fear of punishment, but rather because by His great love and compassion, demonstrated in Christ, we have the privilege of intimacy with Him. Love is to be our motivation for obedience. Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments…“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father…“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:15;21;23)
In what ways are we blessed through the fear of and intimacy with the Lord? Ephesians 1:3 says: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. The psalmist says: When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table. Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the Lord. The Lord bless you from Zion, And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Indeed, may you see your children’s children. We are blessed with both all that we need spiritually, every spiritual blessing and also with everything we need and desire in the natural life. Jesus says: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
If we only fear the Lord because He might punish us, we might try to do well. That type of fear, fear of punishment, often leads to resentment and rebellion rather than obedience, because we can never measure up to God’s righteousness on our own. But if we do well because we love revere, respect and are eternally grateful for His everlasting love, we are blessed. If our fear of the Lord is based in a desire to walk in the intimacy He has provided through the cross, we are blessed. The blessings of God are both spiritual and natural. They are both natural and supernatural. Jesus says: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) God says: You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:13-14) Fear of punishment will cause us to run from and hide from God. If we seek Him with our heart, if we seek Him in love, because He first loved us and demonstrated that love on the cross, we will find Him. We will walk in His ways, not controlled by fear, but consumed by love. We will be blessed.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; thank You for Your everlasting love, demonstrated in the cross. I am eternally grateful. May I never be motivated by the fear of punishment, but rather may I revere the price You paid for love. May my obedience to You be my demonstration of love, knowing and showing that I love because You first loved me. Thank You that I am blessed. Amen.