The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
The fountain of life has been found! Drink from it now, dear reader! The man who fears the LORD will be greatly blessed (Ps 128:1-6). The man who does not fear the LORD will be destroyed by the deadly snares of this ungodly world (Pr 10:27; 22:5; Eccl 7:17).
This is one of the best proverbs of Solomon. Here is a superb promise, a sober warning, and spectacular instruction. The wisdom of this short sentence is wonderful. You have learned many things in life to get where you are today, but this is better than all of them. There are many traps to destroy or kill you in a sinful world, but the lesson will save you.
The fear of the LORD is sober reverence and holy desire to please God that rejects sin and confidence in one’s self (Pr 3:7; 8:13; 16:6). It is the beginning of wisdom (Pr 1:7; 9:10), as those without it are hopelessly lost in self-love and human opinion. It is closely connected to the law of the wise (Pr 2:1-22), which also is a fountain of life (Pr 13:14).
The man or woman who fears the LORD has the wisest impulses and strongest motivation of any living in the world. He or she will be successful in the sight of God and good men, as measured by divine standards. This person will have a glorious life and be saved from the snares that trap others in dysfunctional and painful lives of death and hell.
What can save a man from great attraction to a strange woman? His wife? His mother? His pastor? His children? Not really. The fear of the Lord is the strongest antidote to her beauty and seduction (Eccl 7:26). Nothing else comes close, for only reverent fear of God’s judgment and a great desire to please Him can cause a man to reject her advances, like Joseph did (Gen 39:7-9). Salvation from her wiles delivers a man from the hell and death to which fornication and adultery certainly lead (Pr 2:18; 5:4-5; 7:27; 9:18).
What will keep a marriage happy and prosperous? Both parties fearing the LORD! A husband who fears the LORD will love his wife with the tender affection her Creator intended. A wife who fears the LORD will love her husband with the reverent service that makes for peaceful homes. Two that fear the LORD will make love according to the Inventor’s instructions and solve problems by the Counselor’s wisdom! Therefore, it becomes of greatest importance that spousal selection fix on the fear of the Lord above all else (Pr 31:30). Disregard for this point will cost you fifty years of death. Mark it.
The fountain of life, which is a perpetual supply of good things that make for abundant living, is not dependent on circumstances, for a little with the fear of the Lord is superior to treasure with trouble (Pr 15:16). Ah, dear reader, is it not a treasure here (Is 33:6)? Men search diligently for a fountain of life for physical longevity, but a successful life that pleases God and men is a much greater goal, and the means to it is in this proverb!
Christian parent, this is the most important thing to teach your children. Forget even reading, if it competes with this gift. The fear of the Lord will serve them far better than any academic pursuit, physical exercise, or entertainment. It should be taught as the whole duty of man and the conclusive purpose of life (Ps 34:11; Eccl 12:13-14; Eph 6:4).
It can be established by a godly father living its example and enforcing its claims toward each child. If you love your children, then take time this very day to warn them of His judgments, show them His statutes, and offer them His promises. Point out to them the vanity and vexation of life without the fear of the Lord and the prosperous peace with it.
The fundamental cause of folly, frustration, and pain in life is the lack of the fear of the LORD, which the wicked know not at all (Ps 10:4; 36:1; Rom 3:18). It is only by grace of salvation that men are given this fountain for their parched souls (Jer 32:40), and then they must be taught it, as David and Solomon taught their children (Ps 34:11; Pr 2:1-5).
Jesus Christ feared God like no other, even when facing the torture and death of the cross, and His fear provided a fountain of eternal life to save God’s elect from the death wages of their sins (Heb 5:7-9; John 4:14; Rom 6:23; II Tim 1:9-10). Those who love Him will find a church where God is worshipped with reverence and godly fear (Heb 12:28-29).