“Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.”
Proverbs 28:14, NIV
There are many scriptures which encourage people to live with a holy fear of the Lord, but there is one word in our verse for today which sets this particular scripture apart from all the others – it’s the word always.
Always is a word which doesn’t allow for any variation in standard or practice – it simply means, in this context, that whenever you face a choice or a decision in which you have an opportunity to either obey the Lord, or to sin, then you don’t even have to think about it. The decision in your heart has already been made – you will ALWAYS allow fear of the Lord to determine your actions. The last thing you would ever want to do is grieve Him and the peace of God will always follow your decisions.
The second part of the verse explains how it is that people can choose to ignore the Lord and even though they know something is wrong, go ahead and do it. They have to harden their heart – and to harden one’s heart and go against God is not a good idea! There are many stories in the Bible which tell of what happened when people knowingly chose to harden their hearts and oppose God. This happened many times with the people of Israel in their wilderness years after fleeing Egypt.
Hebrews 3:7-11 speaks directly into our own lives when the writer uses those experiences of the children of Israel to warn us of the dangers of hardening our hearts. They hardened their hearts on many occasions and invoked the anger of God. Verse 8 says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
A hardened heart is very dangerous. Our conscience becomes dimmed and we become less and less sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. And the more we go our own way, the harder the heart becomes and, as our Scripture tells us, there will be trouble ahead. The word ‘always’ is an absolute antidote to a hardened heart. Allow holy fear to keep your life on God’s track and ALWAYS make your decisions in the fear of the Lord.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to remember the importance of the word ‘always’. I recognize that Satan will constantly want to trip me up and I choose now to live in the fear of the Lord and not to harden my heart. Thank you for the promise of the peace of God which will then always be in my heart. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.