And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.
There is a servile fear of God which wicked men possess, but that which distinguishes the believer is filial and reverential. He fears, not because he has sinned, but that he may not sin; and dreads not so much the punishment of sin as the commission of it. He fears God as a friend, and not as an enemy; as a father, and not as a judge. The Scripture speaks of a natural and constitutional fear, arising from pusillanimity and want of courage, whereby persons are alarmed at the least appearance of danger, and sink under the slightest affliction. They fear where no fear is, and flee when no one pursueth. There is also a superstitious fear, which is forbidden as inconsistent with the fear of God. There is likewise a fear which tends to desperation, and sometimes ends in it; a fear which hath torment, and is attended with a spirit of bondage. In distinction from this, there is a fear arising from distrust, the fruit of unbelief, which good men too frequently betray in this imperfect state, but which the Scripture justly condemns. The fear of the Lord is a gracious principle wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit, and consists in a reverential regard for the Divine authority and glory.
I. Enquire WHEREIN THE FEAR OF THE LORD CONSISTS. God is the immediate object of it; and it consists in a mixture of admiration and love, arising from an apprehension of His incomparable excellences and infinite superiority, joined with a humble hope of interest in His favour and regard.
1. The greatness and majesty of God may well excite our fear, and fill us with the deepest reverence and awe.
2. His omnipresence and allseeing eye are a sufficient ground of fear to sinful and erring creatures.
3. The justice and holiness of God are adapted to excite our fear.
4. There is something awful even in the Divine goodness (Psalm 130:4).
II. THE ADVANTAGES ARISING FROM THIS HOLY PRINCIPLE. "The fear of the Lord is his treasure."
1. It is in its own nature exceedingly precious, and all the things of this world are base and mean in comparison of it.
2. It answers the most valuable purposes.
3. Its advantages are permanent.
4. It is called a treasure in order to teach us the following things —
(1) The necessity of seeking after it that we may fully possess it.
(2) That we may be taught highly to value and esteem it.
(3) That we may be careful to cultivate and preserve it.
(4) We are hereby taught to impart this inestimable treasure to others, and to enrich the world with it, by endeavouring to inspire them also with the fear of God.
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.