Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress,
and for their children it will be a refuge.
The fear of the Lord is called the beginning of knowledge and wisdom, referring to something of an inside understanding from God. There is certainly a reverential awe with surely a sense of wonder. But never a cowering fear. Through Jesus we know God as a loving Father, whose love knows no bounds (see Jesus’s parable of the Prodigal Son, which also could aptly be called the Prodigal Father). But this God who is love is still God.
This fear of God paradoxically makes one secure, in a sense fearing nothing. We read in 1 John that there is no fear in love, that perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with judgment. Although we know that in ourselves we are unworthy, yet living in the fear of God and what he has provided for us in Jesus gives us a security that is not only like being a part of the family, but actually is. Somehow, in whatever way this might best be expressed, and probably in a number of ways, we find security, or a fortress of safety in fearing the Lord, and best of all along with that, this is a refuge for our children. They too can find it, as we live in it. A wonderful reality for us all, in and through Jesus.
I have been physically healthy throughout my life, never in a hospital that I can recall except for a couple of accidents in which I required stitches. But now something has come up on my report which I need to work at with the threat of a better chance of something in particular I want to avoid. Well, those of us who are getting older know the story or at least are aware of its possibility. Not that any of us are immune to this, even younger people can get less than good reports, but when one gets older there is a sense of inevitability in regard to this which sets in.
And this is not altogether bad. While it is good to exercise, eat well, get our rest and avoid undue stress, and hopefully through that prolong our good years, none of us can get a guarantee of what is to come. We certainly do need to be thankful for each good day we have and for each new year which has been given to us.
Sometimes we fight against the loss of security we’ve had, wishing for a good word which would put us at ease. Yes, we need to do what we can, to act well on the best information we can gather. But we also need to accept the reality of the limitations of this life along with what dangers do persist. That is part of living well in accordance with God’s will in Jesus in this life, and after all that is what it’s all about.
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.