Perhaps you have heard or perhaps even used the adage, “Too soon old, too late smart.” If so, welcome to the club! I have used the adage of myself. There have been too many times when I acted or spoke in haste, only to regret it at a later time. Hence, too soon old, too late smart.
Sometimes, I hear people suggest that this adage means that people should be afraid of God and His well-deserved anger and punishment for sins committed). TV preachers, for example, might suggest that people should literally be afraid of God, to cringe in abject fear of Him because of sins they may have committed. Well-deserved punishment for sin should cause people to be afraid of God’s wrath. So, the threat of punishment seems to resonate with the impression many people have of God and His sense of justice. In our reading, however, Psalm 22:23, we read that if we fear God, we should praise Him! Nothing about being afraid of God or His threatened punishment for sin committed.
Here is why: “For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.” (Psalm 22:24) The proof of this is the Gospel message of John 3. There we read:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
God has not despised us! He treasures us! This is why He sent Jesus to live, suffer and die, and then rise victorious from His grave on that first Easter morning. So, with the Psalmist may we also proclaim:
“From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.” (Psalm 22: 25-27)