What do God-fearing people look like?

Wayne Mack answers this in his book, Your Family God's Way (Phillipsburg, NY: P & R Publishing, 1991).  Psalm 128:1-4 says:

1 Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.

Here are Mack's insights (p. 5):
God says that God-fearing people:

  1. Receive divine instruction concerning the choices they should make (Ps. 25:12).
  2. Are prosperous in the most important ways (Pss. 25:13; 112:3).
  3. Experience God's goodness (Ps. 31:19).
  4. Are special objects of God's protection (Ps. 31:20).
  5. Have children to whom God shows compassion (Ps. 103:11-18).
  6. Have descendants who will be great on the earth in the most important ways (Ps. 112:2)
  7. Are motivated to be gracious and generous (Ps. 112:4, 5).
  8. Will be confident, courageous people (Ps. 112:6-8; Prov. 14:26).
  9. Will experience contentment (Ps. 112:5, 6, 9; Prov. 19:23).
  10. Will be praying people whose prayers will be heard (Ps. 145:19).
  11. Are blessed with wisdom (Prov. 1:7; 9:10).
  12. Are teachable and peaceful (Prov. 8:13; 14:26; 15:33; Acts 9:31).
  13. Are characterized by integrity and faithfulness (Job 2:3).
  14. Are considerate and kind (Ps. 112:4, 5).
  15. Are noted for constructive speech (Mal. 3:16).
  16. Are patient, hopeful, and genuine (Ps. 147:11).
  17. Persevere in doing what is right (Ps. 112:3, 5; 2 Cor. 7:1).
  18. Work hard, but are not so committed to work that they do not have time for enjoyment (Ps. 128:3).
  19. Accept responsibility for their own families and yet are not overly responsible (Ps. 128:3).
  20. Are devoted to their families and find them to be a source of great satisfaction (Ps. 128:1-4).
  21. Delight in worshipping God (Rev. 14:7).
  22. Love the Scripture and order their lives according to God's commands (Ps. 112:1; Eccl. 12:13). 
This leads to the question, "What does it mean to fear God?"  Mack contrasts feelings of dread and terror (a kind of fear) to feelings of awe, wonder, and exaltation (the right kind of fear of God).  The first, unhealthy fear is typified in the man who hid his talent in the ground (Matthew 25:25).  Of this fear, Mack writes that "it will cause you to be insecure, discontented, unforgiving, unloving, authoritarian, or spineless" (6).

Contrast this to the fear of God in Psalm 128, which will not "impoverish your family" but "enrich your life."

He writes, "Simply put, the fear of God is the inevitable response to a growing, biblical understanding of and relationship with the true and living God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ."

It is the same response Moses had after seeing the wonders of God deliver his people from Egypt (see Exodus 15:1-8).

Trusting in the Gospel gives us a healthy fear of God.  We do not cower, afraid of wrath or damnation, but we also do not take the mercies and graces of the Lord lightly.  We love Him, cherish His gifts, and by His power live them out that others may also taste and see that the Lord is worthy of our fear and praises.

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