They That Feared God

They That Feared God

Ormer G. C. Sprunt

Solomon’s wisdom made him a very keen observer of all matters under the sun. The Book of Ecclesiastes is actually a collection of his observations. Among these we find this one, “Surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before Him” (Ecc. 8:12).

He speaks with certainty, and says, “Surely I know.” He had watched those that feared the Lord, and had observed the evidence of divine approval and recompense. He knew by his survey that it was well for all who stood in awe and reverence before the Lord.

Abraham feared the Lord and in holy reverence obeyed God’s call, and built his alter and pitched his tent; consequently, it was well with him. It was altogether otherwise with his nephew. Lot. Lot’s covetous eyes looked upon the well-watered plain of Sodom and he made his choice. He pitched his tent toward the city; eventually moved into the city, and apparently became a judge there. Ultimately he lost all he thus gained. Financially he lost his position and property; socially he lost his citizenship morally he lost his character. He as a righteous man (2 Pet. 2:7) was saved though as by fire. His life was all dross, dross consumed by the flame; and he alone spared.

Was the principle observed by Solomon true in the case of Abraham? Let, us see. “The Lord said unto Abraham after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth:… then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee” (Gen. 13:14-17).

Was this principle still operative in the days of Joseph? Joseph was despised and ill treated by his brothers, tempted and falsely accused by a sensual woman, thrown into prison, and forgotten by those he helped. Notwithstanding, he said, “I fear God” (Gen. 42:18). How then did things go well with him? Listen to his statement to his brothers, “Now it was not you that sent me thither, but God: and He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt (Gen. 45:8).

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego all feared God, and yet they were cast into a furnace heated “one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.” In their case it seemed to go ill with them in spite of their fear of God. “These men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace” (Dan. 3:21).

Solomon’s observation, “It shall be well with them that fear God,” nevertheless is correct. “Lo,” said Nebuchadnezar, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” He then called, “Ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither.” “The princes, governors, and captains, and the kings counsellors being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them” (Dan. 3:25-27).

The old proverb says, “All is well that ends well.” Their trying experience ended in final good. God is true to His word, “Them that honour Me, I will honour.”

Daniel’s experience was very similar to that of his three friends, “Daniel … went into his house; and his window being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Dan. 6:10). Nevertheless, we read, “They brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions… And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den” (Dan. 6:16-17). Poor Daniel! But was that the end? Solomon asserted that he was certain that it would be well with them that fear God. Was it well with Daniel? Listen to his own words, “O king, live for ever. My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lion’s mouth, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me; and also before thee” (Dan. 6:21-22). Notice also the postscript to this incident, “So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyprus the Persian. With Solomon we are obliged to acknowledge, “It is well with them that fear God.”

Said the Lord Jesus to the multitudes around Him. “I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him” (Luke 12:5). Yet the Apostle Paul states, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom 3:18). How descriptive all this is of our own generation!

Let us remember the proverbs of the same wise king who observed the principle we have been testing; he wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10).

May it be true of us in this day of remnant testimony as it was of an earlier remnant: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord harkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels” (Mal. 3:16-17). It was true of that small remnant, and it is also true of us. “Surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before Him.”