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  • Writer's pictureJoseph A. Bias

Considering Psalm 34 – Part 7

“Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:11-14


One of the things that has consistently amazed me over years of study in the Word is how The Bible explains itself so clearly and leaves nothing to confound or confuse us if we are willing to take the time to immerse ourselves in it by the power of the Holy Spirit revealing it to us. 


Nothing is left to chance or human conjecture.  So, the Palmist seems to pause here in this Psalm to bring clarity to the central idea of The Fear of the Lord. The tone of the Psalm changes to a more gentle invitation, as from a loving Father to His children.  It is as though the Father beckons His children to come close and lean into to what He is about to say. “Listen to me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”


Notice first what is not defined as fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord is not in anxiety, alarm, apprehension, concern, foreboding, distress, fright, dread, panic, trembling or trepidation. God’s fundamental character is love and perfect love casts out all fear that comes from death.


Fear of the Lord, is a different kind of fear. It is a holy reverence mingled with awe and an awareness that God is capable of utterly annihilating us should he choose to do so. And ultimately all men will be judged and face the penalty of death, eternal separation from God. But fear of the Lord is man’s only wise choice for life, and for fulfillment in this life. Whoever desires life and loves to live a long, happy and productive life must fear the Lord. And this how he does it.


Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking guile. – don’t lie, deceive, seduce in to evil behavior, flatter, corrupt the truth, speak slander, malice or false witness. Don’t gossip, intimidate, defraud, demean, discourage or degrade by words or deeds.


Depart from evil – This echoes Psalm 1:1-2; 2Timothy 2:19 and Ephesians 4:28


We don’t have to look for evil. It is the natural state of things. It’s all around us. It is up to us to remove ourselves from it. But before evil manifests in an action, it is first born in the heart. So, to truly depart from evil we need to change our hearts.


“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5   
“Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.” Genesis 8:20-21
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalms 1:1-2   
“Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2Timothy 2:19


But how do we depart from our hearts? If we remove them, we die. In order to depart from our old nature, we must first, agree with God that our natural inclinations are not pure or righteous in the sight of God.  But He has offered us a way out; believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved and He will give us a new heart.


“Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 18:31
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26


When Jesus is Lord of our lives, He purifies our hearts to bring forth rivers of living water.


“With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” James 3:9
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”John 7:38


Our hearts do not change by our natural will alone. It is God working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

“…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13


Continued in Part 8


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