“Come, ye children, hearken unto me:
I will teach you the fear of the Lord”
How good are the mercies of our God! Left to ourselves we are bereft of His graces, ignorant of His ways, and hopelessly lost. His gracious call to come unto Him that He may teach us the “fear of the Lord” is the wonder of His Love.
King David is described as a man after God’s own heart. In other words, David had an intense desire to discover God in all His magnificence. He would often express his desire to know Him, his determination to seek Him and to behold His glory.
“Who is the man who desires life,
who loves days in order to see good?”
David continues in this Psalm to describe the things the “fear of the Lord” produces in those who are desiring His Life to see good in our days (blessed families, true friends, and lives that bring joy to His heart).
13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
A Brief Consideration of His instruction to us
“Keep thy tongue from evil”
God’s instruction is for our good. The simplicity of His Word and His Ways are given that we may conduct ourselves righteously and respectfully. It is a healthy “fear of the Lord” that lets us walk wisely in all our dealings. There are no secrets hidden from Him. The whispers of the rumor mongers and the vain imaginations against others are all open to Him. It is by the fear of the Lord that we deal with the unwholesome issues of our hearts. Authenticity is the desire of God’s Spirit. He has come to teach us the “way of peace” that we might walk rightly before Him.
“and thy lips from speaking guile”
The Hebrew word translated “guile” means falsehood. In our conversations, we can emphasize certain things and leave out other aspects to influence others to come to a different conclusion without telling a lie per se. This is the meaning of the word “guile” used here. It has a sense of manipulation and a certain pretense to sway another to agree with us. There are deep and subtle things in our hearts that need the piercing and probing of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of the Lord is called the Spirit of Truth. As we yield ourselves to its internal instruction, we become people who are true. Without a sensitive heart, we can easily speak evil under the pretext of speaking the truth.
“Depart from evil”
Temptations are all around us. The “fear of the Lord” gives us the knowledge of where that evil would take us. We must be diligent to quickly depart from its peril.
“Depart from evil and do good”
It is in departing from the evil that we discover the joy and blessing of the goodness of God. We discover freedom and confidence which can only be ours in the “doing of good”. When a thing is done right there is an echo and a witness within that resounds with His Spirit.
Peace is the fruit of righteousness. Those who walk right, do right and think rightly, are at peace within. The anxiety and the turmoil of contention and evil around us cannot penetrate a heart that is at rest in God. Singleness of heart, our own actions, and reactions reveal the extent to which He reigns within.
Often in our relationships with others, there are ongoing issues that will require time and patience, and a firm stance on our part. Sometimes silence and diligent prayer for others is needed as peace is not based on compromise but upon the foundation of truth. The challenge can be to stay free of the friction and the temptation to inflame a situation by pressing issues. The truth will always win out. If we keep ourselves from speaking evil and guard our hearts against guile, we are in truth, seeking peace.
Another way of pursuing peace is to diligently present ourselves to the searching of His Spirit. Every situation is an opportunity to discover the hidden issues within our own hearts. In our desire to become pure we must be open and honest with ourselves. In desiring truth, we are in fact pursuing peace.
David ends this short and powerful section of the Psalm with a confident and powerful declaration.
“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous,
and his ears are open unto their cry”
To walk in the paths of righteousness is to be confident of His care for us.
“Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord;
that walketh in his ways”