Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death (NIV).
What are the benefits of the fear of the Lord? The man who fears the Lord has a “secure fortress”. He has strength—a stronghold or a strong tower (Proverbs 18:10). Whatever troubles come his way, he can trust in the Lord’s strength (Psalm 61:1-3; 62:5-7). A man, a father needs strength that is far greater than his, in order to handle all life’s pressures. There are many matters beyond his ability. “How can I have a great relationship with my wife? Sometimes we seem to be from different planets! How can I provide for my family? I work hard, but a hundred and fifty dollars seems to buy fewer bags of groceries every week! How can I guide my children in the right way? Everyone else seems to have their attention except me! How can I serve the Lord? Too much else demands my constant efforts!” The answer is found in the strength or security of the Lord’s Almighty power.
He has a fortress—a place of confident expectation (hope). The word translated “fortress” in the NIV in this text has the idea of “the feeling of being safe or secure.” While it means trust, it has the sense of hope. A man’s hope in God is not a questioning sort that seems to be mere wishing, but a confident expectation. It lays hold of God’s trustworthiness. A man who has a strong trust does not act like those who worship false gods and who try to control everything by their ability or sacred rituals. Instead, he relies on the God he can’t control, who nevertheless has pledged to be faithful to whoever trusts in him. An unbeliever wants a god he can control. A believer worships the God he can’t control, but who is totally faithful. And he is content and feels safe in this fortress.
The man who fears the Lord has a “fountain of life”. Since he is convinced of God’s surpassing worthiness, he gains various benefits. In God’s word, he has the “teaching of the wise” (Proverbs 13:14). He has a standard of judgment he can evaluate life by. This gives him understanding (Proverbs 16:22). He can escape the punishment that is the destiny of fools. He recognizes God as the source of life (Psalm 36:9). He does not turn aside to manmade cisterns that break and cannot hold water (Jeremiah 2:13). This is because he has received Christ, who is the fountain of life (John 4:13-14). With Christ as his fortress and fountain, the man who fears the Lord has all that he needs for life and godliness. Do you rejoice that you have all you need in Christ?
What is the outlook of the fear of the Lord? The man who fears the Lord has something to offer to his children. What does the worldly focused man have for his children? Perhaps he goes and watches their ballgames, puts food on the table and gives them a shelter from the weather, shows up for their graduations and weddings, and leaves something for them in his will—maybe, if anything is left. Is that all you want from your life? Is that all you can give to your children? The man who fears the Lord has something better for his children. Since he knows the Lord as his secure fortress and fountain of life, he can point to his children and say, “This is the way of true joy and peace. Don’t waste your lives on the pursuit of lesser things. God will be your refuge, too!”
The man who fears the Lord knows what turns aside death. Yes, we all have to die, but for the man who fears the Lord, physical death is but the passing to be with the Lord and eternal life. Why is this? The man who fears the Lord knows that the “sting of death is sin, and the power of the sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56). So, he knows he can escape the power of death through Jesus Christ. He says, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV). I know him who has conquered sin and death. His word teaches me to turn aside from its snares to follow and to trust in the Lord Jesus, who is the fountain of life.” This is the confident expectation of the man who fears the Lord. Is he your fortress and fountain?
Grace and peace, David