Corks and Lead…hope and fear

Psa 147:11  but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.

“Them that fear him, those that hope in his mercy.” Patience and fear are the fences of hope. There is a beautiful relation between hope and fear. The two are linked in this verse. They are like the cork in a fisherman’s net, which keeps it from sinking, and the lead, which prevents it from floating. Hope without fear is in danger of being too sanguine; fear without hope would soon become desponding. – George Seaton Bowes, in “In Prospect of Sunday,” 1880.

“Fear” and “Hope” are the great vincula of Old Testament theology, bracketing and including in their meaning all its ideas. – Thomas Le Blanc.

More on this fear and hope from Spurgeon’s commentary this morning:

“It is a striking thought that God should not only be at peace with some kinds of men, but even find a solace and a joy in their company. Oh! the matchless condescension of the Lord, that his greatness should take pleasure in the insignificant creatures of his hand. Who are these favoured men in whom Jehovah takes pleasure? Some of them are the least in his family, who have never risen beyond hoping and fearing. Others of them are more fully developed, but still they exhibit a blended character composed of fear and hope: they fear God with holy awe and filial reverence, and they also hope for forgiveness and blessedness because of the divine mercy. As a father takes pleasure in his own children, so doth the Lord solace himself in his own beloved ones, whose marks of new birth are fear and hope. They fear, for they are sinners; they hope, for God is merciful. They fear him, for he is great; they hope in him, for he is good. Their fear sobers their hope; their hope brightens their fear: God takes pleasure in them both in their trembling and in their rejoicing.

Is there not rich cause for praise in this special feature of the divine character? After all, it is a poor nature which is delighted with brute force; it is a diviner thing to take pleasure in the holy character of those around us. As men may be known by the nature of the things which give them pleasure, so is the Lord known by the blessed fact that he taketh pleasure in the righteous, even though that righteousness is as yet in its initial stage of fear and hope.” -Spurgeon

I particularly like that last paragraph as many environmentalists are quick to marvel at the beauty of nature, but equally as quick to throw darts at the evil nature of their fellow man who fails to care for the creation.  They marvel at an unfolding leaf while rejecting the worth of a life unfolding in the womb.