Proverbs 19:23

Satisfied in the Fear of the LORD

23a The fear of the LORD tendeth to life:

1. Solomon states that the fear of the Lord ___ to life.

a. There is no verb, it must be added.

b. Some translations have added “tended towards” life

c. Others added “leads to” life.

d. Yet others have “is” unto life.

e. You might also add “results in” life…

f. The meaning is virtually the same either way.

2. The meaning is similar to Proverbs 11:19a: “As righteousness tendeth to life…”

a. Chapter 11 speaks of the results of a righteous life.

b. Chapter 19 speaks of the results of a God-fearing life.

3. LIFE may imply two things here.

a. There is a sense in which righteousness and the fear of the Lord tendeth to (results in) preserving one’s physical earthly life.
• Prov. 10:27 – The fear of the Lord prolongs days.
• Prov. 14:26,27 – The fear of the Lord is a fountain (source) of life… and it keeps men from falling into the snares of death.
• Psa. 33:18, 19 – God takes care of those who fear Him… He delivers them from physical death… especially during difficult days.
» Believers have a special place in God’s heart.
» He KNOWS those who truly fear and honor Him.
» Those who have genuine honor and respect for the Lord—as demonstrated in their lives and attitudes—can expect that God will provide refuge and deliverance in time of trouble… even preserving their physical lives.
» Those who do not fear God have no such promise.
• Psa. 34:9-11 – God provides for one’s physical life in a special way when we fear Him.
• Psa. 145:18-20 – God fulfills all their desire and preserves those who love Him and fear Him.
• Mal. 3:16-17 – God will spare those who love and fear Him. God will spare him from evil and from misery.
• This is a common theme in the Bible concerning God-fearers: God prolongs their days; God preserves them; God protects them; God delivers them; God provides for them; spares them… from danger, death, and misery.
• The fear of the Lord LEADS TO (results in) LIFE (preserving, protecting, and prolonging) life…
• The FLIP SIDE of that is true also.
» Prov. 11:19b – So he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.
» The one who chooses evil over righteousness sometimes pays with his life for that foolish decision.
» Prov. 8:36 – Those who choose to reject God’s wisdom behave as if they loved death… It is the path of death and destruction.
» Fearing God results in preserving and protecting physical life; a LACK of the fear of God often results in the loss of life.

b. Fearing God also TENDS TO LIFE in another sense: it preserves the GOOD life… paves the way for an ABUNDANT life… the quality of life.
• That is highlighted in the rest of the proverb.

23b And he that hath it shall abide satisfied

1. He that hath it: he that hath a God-fearing attitude which results in life.

2. The God fearing man has life and as a result, he shall abide satisfied.

3. Satisfied:

a. Full; abounding; content.

b. Deut. 33:23 – Used of God’s blessing upon Naphtali.

4. Abide:

a. Lodge; dwell; continue; endure; rest.

5. The one who fears God—no matter what happens throughout life—can ABIDE satisfied.

a. His life will be characterized by blessing; contentment.

b. His life will be FULL… abounding.

c. And he will ABIDE in that fullness. It is not just a passing fullness, like this world offers.

d. The things of this earth come and go… they provide momentary satisfaction… but nothing lasting.

e. But the one who fears God… will be full… satisfied… and it is abiding and lasting. God never changes.

6. Psalm 25:12-13 – God fearers shall “dwell at ease.”

7. Psalm 34:9-10 – God fearers shall “lack nothing.” They will have all they need… and will be content. After all, they have GOD on their side. What more could we need?

23c He shall not be visited with evil.

1. Evil:

a. Hurt; ill; injury; harm; misery; trouble; distress; calamity.

2. Visited: (translated a variety of ways in different contexts)

a. To visit; search out; charge, count up; take inventory; examined; summoned; punish.

b. Visits can be either good or bad. It depends on who’s visiting and why! If the police visit with a warrant for your arrest, that’s not a good visit. But if your boss pays you a visit at your office with a big promotion, that’s a good visit.

c. When God visits a person, it can either be to bless or to judge.

d. This term is often used of Divine chastening (God visits the wicked with evil.)

e. Jer. 23:2 – God will visit them with the evil of their doings.

f. That’s the way Solomon uses it here… visiting with evil.

3. Solomon states in this proverb that those who fear Him will NOT be visited with evil.

a. In other words, they will NOT be chastened or punished.

b. They shall be preserved from the kind of evil and calamity that is visited upon those who do NOT fear God.

c. This is a good reason all by itself to fear the Lord. He means business.

4. This does not mean that bad things never happen to God fearing people. They DO.

a. But if a God fearing person IS afflicted with evil and calamity in life, he can know that it was not a visitation of Divine chastening or judgment.

b. Rather, it was a test allowed by God, not for his ruin, but for his good… and like Job he shall come forth as gold.

c. Bad things may happen to God fearing people, but it does mean that they will not harm him.
• Isa. 43:2 – “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
• The same event that otherwise would be a calamity is not so calamitous or catastrophic to the one who fears the Lord.
• We have been looking at the book of Daniel on Monday nights. Daniel’s three friends feared God and were cast into the fiery furnace… but they came out without one hair being singed… not even the smell of smoke on their clothes. The Lord was with them in the furnace. Calamity struck – but they were not harmed.
• Calamity happens to God fearers, but it is not the ruin of them.
• They cannot inflict lasting damage and misery.

d. Job 1:1 – Job feared God… and calamity struck.
• However, it did not ruin him.
• Job 23:10 – He came forth as gold.
• Job 42:12 – So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.

e. Solomon tells us that the one who fears God will NOT abide in that. He will abide satisfied!

f. When calamity strikes a man who does NOT fear the Lord, that calamity may well abide. It may be his ruin. It may be lasting.

g. But not so with the God-fearing man or woman.

h. The one who fears God is not visited with evil, because whatever kind of evil or calamity he may face, God is able to turn it to good… as He did with Daniel’s friends… and with Job.

i. All things work together for good to those who love God… and fear Him.

j. Solomon puts a clear contrast before us: abiding satisfied, or abiding in ruin, calamity, and misery. (evil)