“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.” (Psalm 31:19,20)
God has a goodness stored up in Himself that He would impart to and through those who fear Him. Goodness is a fruit of God’s Spirit which He would bring forth in us. (Gal. 5:22) If we would see good in our life we must refrain from speaking and doing evil; we must pursue peace with those around us. (1 Pet. 3:10,11) If we handle a matter wisely, we will find good. (Prov. 16:20) Should we expect good when we act and react in an evil and ungodly manner? “Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.” (Psalm 125:4)
To fear God is to hate and depart from evil (Prov. 8:13; 16:6) When we fear God we recognize our need for Him in everything we say and do. We are not foolishly reckless in our goings. We know that without Him going before us we will surely get ourselves into trouble. Proud men don’t think twice about acting without God. “Who is the Lord?” they say, “that we should obey Him.” (Ex. 5:2) “We are lords, we will not come to Him.” (Jer. 2:31) “Our mouths are our own.” (Ps. 12:4) Surrounded by the proud, who speak grievous words, those who fear God must find a refuge. Our God must keep us from strife and wrath and bitterness. In the secret of God’s presence we are not protected from others as much as we are from our own selves. We escape the grievous words that would stir up our anger. We have our wounds bound up. We have our eyes and ears attuned to God. We see and hear less from man and more from Him.
There is a secret place of the Most High God that the righteous run into for safety. Our flight there is not a cowardly retreat; it is wise movement away from strife and contention. It may not even be necessary (or possible) to physically remove ourselves from the “strife of tongues.” But the Lord can spread a table before us in the presence of our enemies. When men’s voices get loud, let God’s voice be louder. Hear Him say: “Come away my beloved! I am over here.”
Don’t be overcome by evil; overcome evil by the goodness you can gain as you rely on the keeping presence of God.