contrasts in Proverbs 13:13...
Be in debt <> Be rewarded
Ungodly <> Godly
Obedience <> Disobedience
The one who despises -
In Hebrew despises (0936)
(buz) is a participle and therefore is more literally rendered "the
one despising" which pictures this as his habitual practice! (See parallel
uses of despise [buz] in Pr 1:7, 23:9). The
translates it with
tense = continuously)
which means he continuously thinks down upon and thus despises, scorns,
holds in contempt, refuses to give any care to the word because it is
thought to be without value. This person "thinks little of" the Word,
always looking look down on it with contempt or even aversion, with the
implication that he considers the precious truth of little value or
unworthy of his time or consideration. He who does not fear God has need
to fear everything else.
THE word of God in every age has met
with a very different reception from different people: from the
antediluvian scoffers to the present moment, the generality have deemed it
unworthy of their attention, while a few have regarded it with reverence
and godly fear. (sermon)
The word of instruction brings favor
with God and man, as was so abundantly proven by Joseph, Daniel, and a
host of others. To despise this law of the wise is to expose oneself to
shame now and loss in eternity. (Bolding added)
Will be in debt to it -
(or more literally "has been forced to give a pledge") In ancient times a
debtor left with his creditor some article of value or mortgaged his house
or land, and if the debt was not paid, the creditor could take the
debtor’s property, and if this did not suffice he could even take his wife
and children! Note that other versions (e.g., KJV, NKJV, ESV, Amp) render
(chabal/habal) as conveying the idea of bringing destruction on one's self
as both meanings are included in this Hebrew word. In fact both meanings
would be quite appropriate in this passage, for a debt unpaid brings
destruction of a sort in life. As a parallel, Paul explains every sinner
is a debtor and that the wages of sin (unless paid for by a Redeemer - Ro
3:23, 24 see
is death (Ro 6:23-note).
In essence Proverb
13:13 speaks of the divine principle of sowing and reaping. Every man
reaps what he sows, and if, as in the case of this proverb, he sows to his
flesh, he shall surely reap corruption (destruction, ruin, decay,
breakdown, dissolution, death) (see Gal 6:7,8). In short, the one who
despises God's Word of truth and life (Ro 2:4-note),
will owe a debt he cannot pay and thus will be ruined, not only in this
life but in the one to come. (Think eternally "bad credit rating", eternal
Fears the commandment -
Fears means that this is the godly man's lifestyle. He continually
has a reverential, filial awe of God's commands. Godliness is the fruit
when proper fear is the root, for when we reverentially fear God we will
be far more likely to be faithful when tempted. In other words although
faith is surely the ultimate root of all godly virtues (2Pe 1:5, 6, 7, 8,
9, 10, 11 see
fear of God is the grace that guards all these godly virtues. This fear of
course is not perfectly maintained, but when he does break God's law, he
is grieved for he knows he has grieved the heart of His loving Father (see
Ezekiel 6:9-note). His grief is not out of fear of punishment, for there is no
longer condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Ro 8:1-note).
The man that abhors evil and injustice;
the man that would do good if it cost him his earthly all; the man who
would not do wrong though the world should be his reward for doing it—this
is the man who walks in the light, and he is the man that shall have
fellowship with God and a sense of cleansing from sin.
comments that fear is not just an attitude by is linked to an appropriate
action for such a "commandment fearer"...
respects it so as to obey it, walking
as this revelation directs (and) shall be rewarded (which conveys the idea
that he) shall find it to be his highest interest, and shall be in peace
or safety, as the Hebrew word shalam may be translated.
But what is this fear of the Lord? It
is that affectionate reverence, by which the child of God bends himself
humbly and carefully to his Father's law....The keeping of it (the
commandment) is our security. Keep the word, and the word will keep us
(Regarding the fear of the Lord
Bridges describes it as...) That affectionate reverence by which the child
of God bends himself humbly and carefully to His Father’s law. His wrath
is so bitter, and His love so sweet; that hence springs an earnest desire
to please Him, and—because of the danger of coming short from his own
weakness and temptations—a holy watchfulness and fear, ‘that he might not
sin against Him.'
The author of
Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan...
The fear of God is the beginning of
wisdom, and they that lack the beginning have neither middle nor end.
commentator James Denney exhorts us...
Let us familiarize our minds with the
fear due to Christ the Judge, and a new power will enter into our service,
making it at once more urgent and more wholesome than it could otherwise
Alleine rightly states...
He who knows what it is to enjoy God
will dread his loss. He who has seen his face will fear to see his back.
Nothing is more powerful to overcome
temptation than the fear of God... (and that) Righteousness flows from
only one principle—the fear of God...(for) the fear of God is the root and
origin of all righteousness.
Tozer put it
No one can know the true grace of God
who has not first known the fear of God.
Unregenerate fear drives from God,
gracious fear drives to Him... We have no terror of the Word, but we have
a filial awe of it. We are not in fear of its penalties, because we have a
fear of its commands.
gives this illustration of fear of God and sinning against Him (for all
sin is first against Him, cp Genesis 39:9, Psalm 51:4)...
The old naturalist, Ulysses
Androvaldus, tells us that a dove is so afraid of a hawk, that she will be
frightened at the sight of one of its feathers. Whether it be so or not, I
cannot tell; but this I know, that when a man has had a thorough shaking
over the jaws of hell, he will be so afraid of sin, that even one of its
feathers—any one sin—will alarm and send a thrill of fear through his
soul. This is a part of the way by which the Lord turns us when we are
turned indeed.— Feathers for Arrow
Will be rewarded - This
is the Hebrew word salam or shalam (07999)
which means to be safe or uninjured in body or mind. It includes the idea
of wholeness, of being sound and/or healthy which in fact is the way the
translates this phrase,
using the Greek word
hugiaino (word study) (Think "hygiene") =
sound, free from error, good health. Paul uses it in 2Ti 4:3 (note)
of doctrine which is "healthy" (health giving). In short, the idea
of reward appears to be not as much a future reward (although that is
certainly a promise - see
bema or judgment seat of Christ)
per se as a reward now in this life of being "soul sound" of our soul
being safe, whole, "healthy", which reminds one of 1Ti 4:8 (note)
bodily discipline is only of little
profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise
for the present life and also for the life to come.
Paul reminds us that
this statement is trustworthy and serves as a motivation for him to labors
(to the point of exhaustion) and strive (agonize) to attain or obtain.
May God's Spirit strengthen each of His
children (see John 1:11, 12, 13 contrasted with John 8:44, cp Acts 26:18, 1Co15:22) with the grace that is in Christ Jesus that we might truly,
reverentially -- motivated by love for our Father and a desire to please
Him -- fear His commandments and seek diligently to bind them continually
on our heart and tie them around our neck (see Pr 6:20, 21, 22, 23), so that they
will be our lamp as we walk in this dark, crooked and perverted
generation. Through our one Mediator and Great High Priest Christ Jesus.
Soldiers of the Lord below,
Strong in faith resist the foe:
Boundless is the pledged reward
Unto them who serve the Lord.
reminds one of Psalm 19 especially the section in which David
focuses on the inestimable worth of the Word of God, in verse 11 noting
Moreover, by them (law... testimony...
precepts...commandment... fear... judgments) Your servant is warned. In
keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:11)
As someone has said
regarding the rewards for godly living...
The pay isn't much, but the retirement
benefit is out of this world. Amen. Praise the Lord!
Billy Graham once
gave a devotional for the office staff and said that he believed some of
them would be ahead of him in line for the Lord's rewards. They chuckled
with skepticism. He became serious and said that he really meant it
because the Lord rewards faithfulness above fruitfulness, which puts us
all on the same footing, whether famous for our effectiveness or unknown
in our faithfulness.
phrased it in a similar way noting that...
God is a sure paymaster, though he does
not always pay at the end of every week. He can labor without present
reward who looks for a reward in the world to come.
some interesting thoughts on a believer's reward writing that...
We are soon coming out of the eggshell
of time, and when we break loose into eternity and see the vastness of the
divine purposes, we shall be altogether amazed at the service bestowed,
which will be the reward of service done.
The service of God is a remunerative
service; He gives wages in the work, and an abundant reward,
according to His grace, when the work is done.
Your reward is not what you get at
present, but it lies in the glorious future. When the Lord Jesus comes He
will reward all His stewards and servants. No truth is more plain
in the four Gospels than this fact, that when Jesus returns to this earth
He will distribute recompense in proportion to work done.
I cannot imagine a fuller present
reward than complete rest from all anxiety and calm confidence in a
Providence which can never fail.
He will certainly come in His own
person to reward His saints; and ere He comes He sees what you are
doing. If this does not nerve you to tireless diligence in holy service,
Eternal life must be our possession
now; for if we die without it it will never be our possession in the world
to come, which is not the state of probation but of fixed and settled
A fuller reward will be ours when the
Lord shall come a second time and our bodies shall rise from the grave to
share in the glorious reign of the descended King. Then in our perfect
manhood we shall behold the face of Him we love and shall be like Him.
has the following comments that relate to a saint's rewards...
A Godward life is lived with a constant
view to the reward of eternal fellowship with God. This Godward hope is
the power that unleashes sacrificial love (see notes
in a restless world that wants it all now. (A Godward Life)
Inductive Bible study:
Remember to always check the
to study the 10
Scriptural uses of fear and commandment.
to study the other OT
uses of the English word reward (not all however are the Hebrew
shalam). If you are still interested study the
24 NT occurrences of reward.
Note especially our Lord's promise...
Behold, I am coming quickly, and My
reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has
done (Rev 22:!2-
He comes, He comes, to call
The nations to His bar,
And raise to glory all
Who fit for glory are:
Make ready for your full reward;
Go forth with joy to meet your Lord.
“He that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”—Proverbs 13:13
HOLY awe of God’s Word is at a great
discount. Men think themselves wiser than the Word of the Lord, and sit in
judgment upon it. “So did not I, because of the fear of God.” We accept
the inspired Book as infallible and prove our esteem by our obedience (Ed:
Read that again. See related studies -
Obedience of faith
Relationship of faith and obedience). We have no terror of the Word, but
we have a filial awe of it. We are not in fear of its penalties, because
we have a fear of its commands.
This holy fear of the commandment
produces the restfulness of humility, which is far sweeter than the
recklessness of pride. It becomes a guide to us in our movements, a drag
when we are going downhill, and a stimulus when we are climbing it.
Preserved from evil and led into righteousness by our reverence of the
command, we gain a quiet conscience, which is a well of wine; a sense of
freedom from responsibility, which is as life from the dead; and a
confidence of pleasing God, which is heaven below. The ungodly may
ridicule our deep reverence for the Word of the Lord, but what of that?
The prize of our high calling is a sufficient consolation for us. The
rewards of obedience make us scorn the scorning of the scorner.
(Commentary on Proverbs) writes...
God as a God of holiness will not be
trifled with. As a God of grace, none "serve Him for nought." The
presumptuous despiser of His word cannot escape. The world before the
flood was the object of His long-suffering. "A preacher of righteousness"
warned them of their danger. But the despisers provoked their own ruin.
Pharaoh, often reproved, sometimes half-resolved, yet at length despising
the word, was destroyed. (Ex 5:2; 10:16,17; 14:28.) Jehoiakim's daring
rebellion met with its righteous recompense Jer. 36:23, 24, 25, 26, 27,
28, 29, 30, 31, 32.) The warnings
of Sinai are as a voice of thunder--
If every transgression of the word
spoken by angels received its just recompence of reward; how shall we
escape, if we neglect so great salvation, spoken by the Lord? If they
escaped not, that refused him that spake on earth; much more shall not we
escape, if we turn away from him that speaks from heaven. See that ye
refuse not him that speaks. (Heb 12:25-note)
Let God and his word be our fear, not
our terror. Faith is the principle of fear, of reverential child-like
obedience. (Heb 11:7-note)
Indeed the heart can never be right, till it fears the commandment above
every earthly consideration. The slave fears the penalty; the child the
commandment. And this he fears more, than if an angel from heaven were
standing in his way with a flaming sword. He fears the father, not the
Judge. Here is no bondage, no legality. It brings its own reward. The
"heart that stands in awe of God's word," rejoices in it, "and is largely
enriched with its spoil." (Ps. 119:161, 162 -
Spurgeon's note v161,
Here too is sun- shine in the special favour of God--
To this man will I look, even to him
that is poor, and of a contrite heart, and that trembles at My word. (Is
66:2. cp Ezra, 10:3)
Commentary on the Whole Bible
Whoso despises the word shall be
The word of God. Either Christ,
the essential Word; which must be a great evil, considering the dignity of
His person; great ingratitude, considering the grace of His office; very
dangerous, considering what a quick, sharp, and powerful Word He is: and
such may be said to despise Him who despise His ministers, and the Gospel
preached by them; and which may be meant by the word, that being
the word of God and of truth, the word of righteousness, peace, life, and
salvation; and is to them that perish foolishness; and to whom it is so,
they shall perish, and be punished with everlasting destruction, for their
contempt of it, and disobedience to it.
Or the written word may be
meant, the Scriptures, which are given by inspiration of God, and
therefore ought to be had in the greatest reverence; and yet are greatly
slighted and despised by the man of sin and his followers; who set up and
prefer their unwritten traditions to them, and so make them of none
effect: such are all false teachers, that despise or abuse them, they
bring destruction to themselves; for so the words may be rendered, "shall
bring destruction to himself", or shall receive detriment from it: so the
Targum, from the word itself; the Syriac version, "by it"; and the Arabic
version, "by the commandment itself"; by the threatenings in it, and
according to them: or, "because of it"; because of the contempt of it;
but he that feareth the commandment;
receives the word with reverence, trembles at it; fears God, and keeps His
commandments, and fears to break them: he shall be rewarded; with good, as
the Targum adds; for in keeping the commandments of God there is great
or, "shall enjoy peace", or "be in
safety"; for great peace have they which love the law of God, and serve
or, "shall be sound, [and] in health";
when those that despise it "shall be
corrupted"; as the word in the preceding clause may be rendered.
1. The character of one that is marked
for ruin: He that despises the word of God, and has no regard to
it, no veneration for it, nor will be ruled by it, certainly he shall be
destroyed, for he slights that which is the only means of curing a
destructive disease and makes himself obnoxious to that divine wrath which
will certainly be his destruction.
Those that prefer the rules of carnal
policy before divine precepts, and the allurements of the world and the
flesh before God's promises and comforts, despise His word, giving the
preference to those things that stand in competition with it; and it is to
their own just destruction: they would not take warning.
2. The character of one that is sure to
be happy: He that fears the commandment, that stands in awe of God,
pays a deference to His authority, has a reverence for His word, is afraid
of displeasing God and incurring the penalties annexed to the commandment,
shall not only escape destruction, but shall be rewarded for His godly
fear. In keeping the commandment there is great reward.
J C Ryle -
see full treatise - Thoughts
for Young Men
Young men, I charge you to make a habit
of reading the Bible, and not to let the habit be broken. Do not let the
laughter of friends, do not let the bad customs of the family you live in,
don't let any of these things prevent your doing it. Determine that you
will not only have a Bible, but also make time to read it too. Allow no
man to persuade you that it is only a book for Sunday school children and
old women. It is the book from which King David got wisdom and
understanding. It is the book which young Timothy knew from his childhood.
Never be ashamed of reading it.
Do not "scorn instruction" (Proverbs
Read it with the prayer that the
Holy Spirit's grace will help you understand it. It has been said,
"A man may just as soon read the
Scripture without eyes, as understand the spirit of it without grace."
Read it reverently, as the Word of
God, not of man, believing implicitly that what it approves is right, and
what it condemns is wrong. Be very sure that every doctrine which will
not stand the test of Scripture is false. This will keep you from being
tossed to and fro, and carried about by the dangerous opinions of these
Be very sure that every practice in
your life which is contrary to Scripture, is sinful and must be given up.
This will settle many a question of conscience, and cut the knot of many a
doubt. Remember how differently two kings of Judah read the Word of God:
Jehoiakim read it, and at once
tore the page to pieces, and burned it in the fire (Jeremiah 36:23). And
why? Because his heart rebelled against it, and he was resolved not to
Josiah read it, and at once tore
his clothes, and cried mightily to the Lord (2 Chronicles 34:19). And why?
Because his heart was tender and obedient. He was ready to do anything
which Scripture showed him was his duty.
Oh that you may follow the last of
these two, and not the first!
And read it regularly. This is the only
way to become "mighty in the Scriptures." A quick glance at the Bible now
and then does little good. At that rate you will never become familiar
with its treasures, or feel the sword of the Spirit fitted to your hand in
the hour of conflict. But store up your mind with Scripture, by diligent
reading, and you will soon discover its value and power. Texts will rise
up in your hearts in the moment of temptation. Commands will suggest
themselves in times of doubt. Promises will come across your thoughts in
the time of discouragement. And thus you will experience the truth of
David's words, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin
against you" (Psalm 119:11); and of Solomon's words, "When you walk, they
will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake,
they will speak to you" (Proverbs 6:22). (J. C. Ryle. Thoughts for Young
The conclusion, when all has been
heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this
applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment,
everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes