In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
Religion, in the life of a man who regularly lives to God, always appears in an aspect uninteresting and unlovely to the irreligious. And so they speak of it. It is needful, therefore, that religion should be honoured.
I. THE HABIT WHICH THE TEXT EXHIBITS. "The fear of the Lord." Fear, in its most comprehensive and general definition, is that emotion arising from the prospect of danger, either real or imaginary. In spiritual things it has a twofold character.
1. Slavish fear, or mere dread of Jehovah in His character as Judge. This fear must not be put in the place of religion.
2. Filial fear. Analogous to the emotion properly exercised by children towards parents; it is exercised by all those who have undergone a redemption from slavish fear and a renovation of heart by the influence of the Divine Spirit. It arises from a deep and humble reverence of the Divine perfections and from a practical desire to walk in obedience to the Divine commandments. It is principally included in the direction of all the affections towards Jehovah and the exhibition of practical religion in the life and conversation. The filial fear of the Lord is by no means inconsistent with the love cf the Lord.
II. THE ADVANTAGES WHICH THIS MENTAL HABIT ALWAYS AND INVARIABLY SECURES. The fear of God excludes all other fear, and he who has it has a sanctuary in which his soul shall abide in security, and safety, and peace, while looking beyond the scenes of this present life for the perfect enjoyment of interminable and imperishable felicity. Notice three facts embodied in the principle.
1. The fear of the Lord removes the terrors of conscience. Conscience is the judge of a man's mind with regard to a man's own actions. An accusing conscience is one that sets before the spirit of a man the array of his crimes. The fear of the Lord prevents the accusations of conscience and brings the soul into a state of peace.
2. The fear of the Lord removes also the terrors of temporal chastisement. But the chastening of God is always for our profit; and in connection with the profit arising from chastisement there are peculiar comforts.
3. The fear of the Lord removes the terrors of death and of futurity. He who has God for his friend must look, not only without fear, but with hope and joy, to the last moment of dissolution, and his entrance into the mysteries of the awful world of futurity.
Parallel VersesKJV: In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.