In this psalm God is magnified and appreciated for His works, His deeds and how they have benefited His people and provided opportunity for anyone to observe and reflect on them, particularly those who are impressed by His deeds. These works display His power and majesty emanating from His righteousness such that it leaves an indelible impression. The attributes described depict a compassionate, caring, being whose purpose is to reveal His character by His deeds. There is Good News in this psalm; God has provided redemption for His people. He is committed to His agreement (covenant) with mankind to deliver them, redeem them, care for them, and cause them to fear Him. This is the true crux of the matter: To fear God because this is the beginning of wisdom. This is not the goal of the relationship it is the introduction, the first handshake as it were. Life, holy, abundant life proceeds from this, but what is this fear?
Just over 26 years ago my family and I were introduced to the wonders of Canada through our immigration to Alberta. During those early times we noticed interesting things. While traveling through the mountains, there was a road sign that said, “Chain up here!” or when we visited homes there were ‘storm doors’. When we serviced our vehicle there was an electrical cord attached to the engine somewhere. When we asked curiously about these things we were told, “The winters here are harsh!” But it was spring and when summer made its appearance all those things we observed faded into the background. The long evenings of summer soon gave way to the chilly nights of the fall and it seemed that things were cooling down somewhat. Three days after the Christmas of 1990 we were introduced to winter. It was something quite inexplicable. We awakened one day and the sky was clear blue. The brightness of the sun beckoned us to go out and walk around. When we turned the news on, the weatherman said it was 30 below with a wind-chill that made it feel like minus 40. These temperatures and numbers did not compute and seemed at odds with that glorious sunshine. When we opened the door, all hope vanished. It was devastatingly cold.
What little fear I had sprang to maturity and I wondered, “How do these people live here?” Within a few weeks the first blizzard showed up. The fear of winter has never left me because of that first encounter; the warnings and the anecdotes didn’t really prepare me. Now I always prepare myself for it, both its beauty, and horror. I drive and dress for the conditions. I have a healthy respect for it too, but the fear has never left me, it keeps me wise.