Read: Psalm 128

Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! (v. 1)

Our picture of God tends to downplay those elements in his character that might be upsetting. If we do mention the fear of the Lord, we hasten to add that it doesn’t mean we should be afraid of God. It just means feeling awe. Awe for God is great, but maybe there should also be a little bit of afraid in our fear of God. Afraid as in fear of offending him, fear of dishonoring him, fear of treating sin lightly and assuming God will forgive. The psalmist equates the fear of the Lord with obedience. The 18th-century English writer William Law wrote a devotional book entitled A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. God-fearing people respond to that call.

Psalm 128 describes the blessings God-fearing people can expect. They will enjoy the fruits of their own labor, rather than seeing it seized by some robber or invader. They will rejoice in their large families, gathered around the dinner table. They will experience the prosperity of the whole community throughout their long and happy lives and live to see their grandchildren growing up.

The psalmist pictured God’s blessings in terms of the only world and life he knew. Our world is different, and our experiences may be different too, but our outlook is also longer. We know that since Jesus died and rose again, those who walk in his ways will see blessing far beyond anything this world can offer. —David Bast

As you pray, think about what it means to fear God and walk in his ways.