Godly Fear (Ecclesiastes 8:12) - Radical

Godly Fear (Ecclesiastes 8:12)

Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God because they fear before Him.
– Ecclesiastes 8:12

This verse is Psalm 73, like when the psalmist looks around and sees the prosperity of the wicked, of people who are indulging in the ways and the things of this world.

Ecclesiastes 8:12 reminds us that living in the fear of the Lord leads to a wise life.

I’ll never forget where I was in college when I heard that chapter preached. I remember it like it was yesterday because I was wrestling with the same thing and felt like I was missing out on a lot of things in this world as I looked on this campus and saw people not pursuing God. Things seem to be going well for them on a variety of different levels. I remember when the pastor who was preaching that Psalm, Psalm 73, and you get to the end, he said, “As for me, it is good to be near God.” This is exactly what Ecclesiastes 8:12 is saying, “Yet I know.”

So yes, the wicked, those who seek after the things of this world, will prosper in so many ways in this world, “Yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God because they fear before Him.” It basically says the same thing a second time. Those who fear God because they fear God. This is the message of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and all of wisdom literature, that when you live in the fear of God, it will lead you to a wise life. To use the exact language from Ecclesiastes 8:12 here, “It will be well for you.” So let’s pray for the fear of God in our lives.

Ecclesiastes 8:12 encourages us to live with a reverent fear of the Lord.

God, we pray that you would make us people who fear you, who revere you, who live in awe of you, who marvel at who you are. God, we pray that you would help us, keep us from being casual before you. Yes, we want to love you, sing to you, and walk with you as our father, and yet we want to do so in fear, even as I think about my own dad and fearing doing anything that would dishonor him.

God, I pray in a much greater way. You would help me. You would help us to fear doing anything, thinking anything, desiring anything, saying anything, doing anything that would dishonor you. God, help us to walk humbly and in holiness before you and others to live in the fear of you, in reverence in you and awe of you, and in the worship of you, knowing that when we do, because we live like this, it will be well for us. We praise you for your promise of life that’s found in worshiping you.

Prayer for Unreached People Groups

Jesus, we praise you for making this life possible for us. We pray you help us to live it to the full, and the fear of you, and then the abundance that’s found in you. God, we pray that you’ll help us to spread this good news of your love in Jesus to all the people groups of the world until all the people groups of the world know and fear you. God, use our lives, our families, our churches toward that end. We pray all this according to your Word in Ecclesiastes 8:12. In Jesus’ name, amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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