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The Scriptorium

Fear God

It matters the company you keep. Psalm 119.74, 79

Pray Psalm 119.74, 79.
Those who fear You will be glad when they see me,
Because I have hoped in Your word…
Let those who fear You turn to me,
Those who know Your testimonies.

Sing Psalm 119.73, 74, 79, 80.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
Your hands have made and fashioned me, teach me Your Law, O Lord!
All those who fear You, when they see me will obey Your Word.
Full gladly they will hope like me, as I hope in Your Word.

Let those who fear You turn to me, all those who love Your Word.
Let my heart pure and blameless be before Your statutes, Lord!
That shame may not attach to me, I hold fast to Your Word!

Read Psalm 119.73-80; meditate on verses 74, 79.

1. What do these two verses have in common?

2. Who are those who fear the Lord?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111.10). The fervent, faithful desire of every believer is that all the components of the soul – heart, mind, and conscience – might be held together and strengthened by the fear of the Lord (Ps. 86.11). Like souls attract one another and are thus reinforced in their fear of and love for the Lord. This is what the psalmist is seeking here.

The psalmist has struggled with sin (lying, covetousness, vv. 29, 37) and affliction (slander, libel, v. 69), which God has used to bring him back to the pathway of His Law (v. 67). Now the psalmist is confident that he is where he should be. He’s not asking God to take away his lying or shield his eyes from looking at wrong things. He’s beyond that. He has returned to the fear of God, and all his soul is coming together to hope in the Word of God (v. 74) and to know, love, and serve Him.

So he wants those who fear God to see him, to be glad in his company (v. 74; cf. v. 63) and to confirm their commitment to God’s Law (v. 79). We need the fellowship of like-minded believers to strengthen one another for faith and obedience (cf. 1 Thess. 5.11). But let each be sure to be firmly grounded in the fear of the Lord, for only the fear of God unites the soul in service to Him and turns it to the Word and testimonies of God.

Fear God. Know His Word. Seek like-minded companions. Rejoice and grow together in His Word.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
If like-minded companions in the Lord are good; then the converse is also true and is not good.

Paul warns us that we are not to deceive ourselves: “Evil company corrupts good habits”. Or as the NIV phrases 1 Corinthians 15.33, “Bad company corrupts good character.”
“Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them…” (Prov. 24.1).
“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off” (Prov. 23.17, 18).

We must always be mindful of who we spend our time with, and how we spend our time. Are we filling our lives with good things or with bad? It makes a difference in the outcome of our lives.

Solomon has some wonderful words of encouragement about good fellowship in the fear of the Lord:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; for how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4.9-12).

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27.17).

Let us, with our friends who love and fear the Lord, say with the psalmist David:
“I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Ps. 34.1-3).

Fear Him. Hope in His Word (Ps. 119.74).
Fear Him. Know His testimonies (Ps. 119.79).

The people in your Personal Mission Field will be glad and will turn to you (Ps. 119. 74, 79). 

For reflection
1. Why do we need faithful friends to help us in our walk with the Lord?

2. How can spending time with friends who fear the Lord help you to grow in obedience?

3. Whom can you encourage in the Lord today? With whom can you share what you are learning about fearing God and keeping His commandments?

let us learn from the two marks, by which he distinguishes true believers, what is the nature of genuine godliness. He puts the fear, or the reverence of God, in the first place; but he immediately joins to it the knowledge of Divine truth, to teach us that these two things are inseparably connected. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Psalm 119.79

Pray Psalm 119.77, 78.
Call on the Lord for mercy and grace in all your time of need – which is all the time of your life. Meditate on God’s Word. Ask Him to give you a Scripture to carry with you throughout the day.

Sing Psalm 119.77, 78.

(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
Your tender mercies come to me that I may live in You.
Your Law I ponder joyfully, Your will to know and do.
Shame all who treat me wrongfully; Your precepts I pursue.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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