In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Biblical Wisdom
May 4, 2020

In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence

by Dr. Bill Edgar, former chair of the Geneva College Board of Trustees, former Geneva College President and longtime pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPNCA)

Proverbs 14:26 – In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.

The phrase, “fear of the LORD,” appears often and always positively in the Book of Proverbs and the Psalms. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7) “Blessed are all who fear the LORD.” (Psalm 128:1) Who is the LORD? He is Yahweh, the living God, who made the heavens and earth, and who chose Israel and made a Covenant with them at Mount Sinai. The word “fear” means covenant submission and therefore obedience and respect. It includes the certain knowledge that the LORD will hold His people to their word and punish the disobedient. (Exodus 20:4-7) A near synonym is “serve.”

“Fear of the LORD” contrasts with the fear of other lords, such as the ancient Canaanite gods Baal, Ashtoreth, or Moloch, evil gods behind whom demons lurked. (Psalm 106:37, I Corinthians 10:20) “Fear of the LORD” protects one from the fear of man, which leads many into sin. “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

The word “fear” makes modern Christians nervous, but the New Testament embraces it: “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.” (I Peter 2:17) Believers walk “in the fear of the Lord.” (Acts 9:31) In that verse, interestingly, one cannot tell whether “Lord” means “Lord Jesus Christ” or Israel’s God, “the LORD.” Christ is the Creator, so to fear and serve Him is to fear and serve God the Creator. (John 1:1-3, 14:9)

The LORD’s unshakable love and care for His people means that their fear of Him and Him alone will never disappoint them. “What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” “ For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31, 38-39) As this proverb teaches, “in the fear of the LORD there is great confidence.”

That great confidence also includes believers’ children, who will find a refuge in God. Christians today are scared that their children will stray from God. Here is encouragement: God intends for our children to take refuge in Him. That’s His plan. The Lord’s promises are to us and to our children. (Acts 2:39) His purpose for marriage is that believers will raise a godly seed for Him. (Malachi 2:15) Married believers in God should never think that having children is their choice: it’s God’s plan! We therefore rear our children in the fear of the LORD, confident that in Him they too will find the confidence and refuge we have found. “In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”

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