Psalm 112: To Love the Fear of the Lord, Part 2

Read Psalm 112.

Just like Psalm 111 before it, Psalm 112 is an acrostic poem, meaning each line in the psalm begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, from aleph to taw. This isn’t an easy writing assignment, and it shows the skill and care of the psalmist. He apparently wanted his readers to more easily recall from memory the message of these two songs.

Beyond the cool acrostic feature, there are other connections between these neighboring psalms. Where Psalm 111 ended with a note about the fear of the Lord, Psalm 112 begins with one and then goes on to describe the life of someone who lives with that holy fear ever before them. These two psalms were written to fit together, like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

In Psalm 111, we read that God’s “righteousness endures forever” (v. 3), but in 112, it is those who fear the Lord whose “righteousness endures forever” (v. 3). In 111, God is called “gracious and compassionate” (v. 4); in 112, it is those who fear the Lord who bear those traits (v. 4). The psalmist is trying to tell us, in a not-so-subtle way, those who fear the Lord will become just like Him.

Way back in Genesis, that’s precisely what God wanted when He made Adam and Eve. He announced to the heavenly council, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Genesis 1:26). We were created to be just like God—to reflect His goodness, to echo His truth, and to fill the earth with His beauty—but in sinfulness we twisted His image within us. So now the path back home begins with the fear of the Lord. It’s how we once again become who we were designed to be.

Strangely, it was after Adam and Eve sinned by failing to keep the Lord’s command that they were filled with terror (Genesis 3:8). Our first parents feared God and hid, but only because they failed to fear Him properly during the devil’s temptation. They let the serpent’s words tickle their itching ears and momentarily forgot about God’s goodness and power. The peace and security Adam and Eve had known every moment of their lives disappeared in an instant. They were suddenly afraid.

A refusal to fear God doesn’t remove fear from our lives; it only intensifies it. That’s because when we lose the fear of the Lord, we open ourselves up to every other fear. But for those who honor God and hold onto a healthy fear of His goodness and power, the world can be a much different place: “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” (Psalm 112:7–8).

Holy fear and obedience go hand in hand, and peace follows those who follow God. Some people take an entire lifetime to figure this out, but God doesn’t want us to wait that long, so He tells us plainly in His Word: “Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands” (Psalm 112:1).


What’s this all about?

2 thoughts on “Psalm 112: To Love the Fear of the Lord, Part 2

  1. This Psalm is tied to a special memory for me. This was the first scripture passage John memorized with our son when he was about 4 years old. Reading this I can still hear his little voice reciting it. Thanks for writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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