The Praise of Piety
Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the LORD tends to life: and he that has it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

What could he said more than is said here in praise of piety? What more or better could anything do for us than -

I. ENSURE OUR SAFETY. So that we shall not be visited with evil. But is not the good man visited with evil? Do not his crops fail, his vessels sink, his shares fall, his difficulties gather, his children die? Does not his health decline, his hope depart, his life lessen? Yes; but:

1. From the worst evils his piety secures him. The "fear of the Lord," that Holy One before whom he stands and with whom he walks, keeps him from folly, from fraud, from vice, from moral contamination, from that "death in life" which is the thing to be dreaded and avoided.

2. And the troubles and sorrows which do assail him lose all their bitterness as they wear the aspect of a heavenly Father's discipline, who, in all that he sends or suffers, is seeking the truest and the lasting well being of his children. The man who is living in the fear of God, and in the love of Jesus Christ, may go on his homeward way with no anxiety in his heart, for he has the promise of his Saviour that all things shall work together for good - those things that are the least pleasant as well as those that are the most inviting.

II. SATISFY OUR SOUL. "Shall abide satisfied." Certainly it is only the man of real piety of whom this word can be used. Discontent is the mark which "the world and the things which are in the world" leave on the countenance and write on the heart of man. Nothing that is less than the Divine gives rest to the human spirit. Mirth, enjoyment, temporary happiness, may be commanded, but not abiding satisfaction. That, however, is found in the devoted service of a Divine Redeemer. Let a man yield himself, his whole powers and all his life, to the Saviour who 1oved him unto death, and in following and serving him he will "find rest unto his soul." Not half-hearted but whole-hearted service brings the joy which no accident can remove and which time does not efface or even lessen. The secret of lifelong blessedness is found, not in the assertion of an impossible freedom from obligation, but in an open, practicable, elevating service of the living God, our Divine Saviour.

III. CONSTITUTE OUR LIFE AND CONDUCT TO A STILL HIGHER FORM OF IT. "The fear of the Lord tendeth to life." It is not merely that a regard for God's will conduces to health and leads to long life (Psalm 91:16); it is not only that it tends to secure to its possessor an honourable and estimable life among men. It is much more than this; it is that it constitutes human life. "This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God." For man to live in ignorance or in forgetfulness of his Divine Father is to miss or to lose his life while he has it (or seems to have it). On the other hand, to live a life of reverence, of trustfulness in God, of love to him, of filial obedience and submission, of cheerful and devoted cooperation with him in the great redemptive work he is outworking, to be attaining more and more to his own spiritual likeness, - this is life itself, life in its excellency, its fulness, its beauty. Moreover, it itself, with all its worth, is but the prelude of that which is to come. It is the "fair beginning" of that which shall realize a glorious consummation a little further on. With all that hinders and hampers taken away, and with all that facilitates and enlarges bestowed upon us, we enter upon the nobler life beyond, which we have no language to describe because we have no faculty that can conceive its blessedness or its glory.

1. Let the perils of human life point to a Divine Refuge.

2. Let the weariness of earthly good lend to the Divine Source of rest and joy.

3. In the midst of the deathfulness of sin, lay hold on eternal life. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

WEB: The fear of Yahweh leads to life, then contentment; he rests and will not be touched by trouble.

The Happy Life
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