Fear and delight. Those are two words that you don’t often seen thrown together. But the psalmist here does use them together, talking about the blessing that comes from fearing God and delighting in him and his word.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands. (1)
What does it mean to fear God? I think it’s a combination of things. It’s an overwhelming sense of awe at his greatness. It’s understanding that he is so much greater than we are, and that he is so much holier than we are. And because of that, there is some actual fear, because we know we are so unworthy to even be in his presence. That we deserve to die because we are sinners in front of a holy God. All the saints that met God in the Bible face to face experienced that feeling.
Yet, at the same time, they knew his love and mercy towards them, and because of that they were able to delight in him. And they wanted wanted to please him.
The psalmist says that such people will find blessing. The interesting thing to me is that they then take on the character of their Father in heaven. They too become gracious, compassionate, and righteous in all their ways. They are generous, lending freely, and are fair and just in all their dealings (4-5).
What’s the result?
Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. (6-8)
So often, because people trust only in themselves, they are worried about the future. Why? Because they can’t control it. And when they hear bad news, they panic trying to figure out what to do. But when we trust in the Lord, even in the bad times, our hearts remain secure and we have no fear. Why? Because we’re not trying to control things. Instead, we put control into the hands of the one who can handle it. And even though people may oppose us, God will give us the victory.
As the psalmist puts it,
The wicked will see and be vexed,they will gnash their teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing. (10)
But as for those who trust in God, we can continue to be generous, blessing those around us. More than that, God will honor us for it. (9)
So each day, let us fear and delight in the one who is holy, awesome, and good.