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FEAR AND RIGHTEOUSNESS

Daily Devotional Psalm 34:8–16


To be “righteous” means to be morally upright, to be without sin. Of course, holy perfection is an unreachable goal. Romans 3:10 tells us: “There is no one righteous, not even one.” How then do we “pursue righteousness” (2 Tim. 2:2)?


Fear the LORD, you his holy people.

PSALM 34:9


Psalm 34:9 guides us: “Fear the LORD, you his holy people.” The Psalmist explains that righteousness does not come from us but from God. Fearing the Lord is commanded for “holy people” (v. 9). By drawing near to God in love and respect, we are able to control our tongues and in general “turn from evil and do good” (vv. 13–14).


As we pursue righteousness, the fear of the Lord is comforting and even pleasurable. Why? One reason is that we’re perfectly safe in Him as our refuge (v. 8). Drawing near to God or “tasting” His presence brings genuine pleasure and delight. In addition, “those who fear him lack nothing” (v. 9). God is our Provider. He cares for us. We can trust Him. Even lions, the kings of the jungle, might get weak from hunger, but not us. By relying on God, we “lack no good thing” (v. 10).


Verse 11 is a summons: “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” And what does he advise? Control your tongue, do good, and pursue peace, and the loving eyes of the LORD will be upon you (vv. 13–15). But be warned. The opposite is also true: “The face of the LORD is against those who do evil” (v. 16).


The implication is that we cannot live in this way—righteously—without the fear of the Lord. If we draw near to Him in awe and reverence, however, and depend wholly on Him, the relationship is a blessing beyond imagining!


Go Deeper


As James 3:1–12 teaches, controlling our tongue is a major challenge. How can we bring our words under God’s control, including everyday speech and social media?


Pray with Us:


Too often our words are unloving and hurtful. Remind us today, Lord, that as Your people we have to control our tongue and let the Holy Spirit guide our speech. Give us a holy fear and a heart of thankfulness.

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