The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil. (Proverbs 19:23—NKJV)

There are a great many potential sources of satisfaction available throughout life. It is built into the nature of man to constantly seek out sources of satisfaction, while it is also the nature of man to find himself robbed of satisfaction. Dissatisfaction may come from a noble source, such as a driving desire to do better (otherwise known as discontent), or it may come from an ignoble source, such as comparing ourselves with some ill-conceived and deficient idea of success. It is the ignoble sources of dissatisfaction that Satan exploits, often through temptation.

As is always the case, a quick visit to the dictionary helps clarify our subject for further consideration. To satisfy is to fill the needs, expectations, wishes, or desires; content; gratify; to suffice, fulfill; the filling of requirements or conditions. The word is a component of the word “satisfactory.” It is this quality that makes it fitting for God to utilize it when speaking of His satisfaction at the atonement by His Holy Son. It means the settlement of a debt and the payment or discharge of an obligation. Christ’s atoning work actually bought the believer out of the slave market of sin by the payment of the ransom price. The wrath of God was satisfied and peace is forged (contentment between God and the redeemed).

While there is nothing wrong with planning and striving to perform better (which is what growing in godliness is), there is something wrong with being tempted and failing to be satisfied with the provision of God for today. The Hebrew word translated “satisfaction” in our verse can also be translated “satiated, filled with food, to be filled up.” You know the feeling when you have come in from a good day’s work in the bracing air, sit down to a warm bowl of stew, and eat until you are comfortable and satisfied. You know you will be hungry tomorrow, but nothing can rob you of the joy of being filled with goodness right now.

Spiritually speaking, there is the same blessing of satisfaction available to every believer. The “warm bowl of stew” in this verse is the fear of the Lord. Psalm 63:1–5 reads, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land…because Your lovingkindness is better than life…my soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and abundance, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.” It is this good fullness that is in view in Psalm 17:15: “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” True, God-engendered satisfaction is rooted deeply in revering fear and devoted allegiance to the Lord (Proverbs 1:7, 2:5, 3:7, 8:13, 9:10, as well as our verse above).

The beauty of the Word of God is that it sees past the distractions, reduces the complexities, and clears the fog of life, while it consistently reorients us to “true North” for our soul. Psalm 103:1–5 professes, “…Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” We would do well to echo Moses’ prayer request in Psalm 90:14, “Oh, satisfy us early (daybreak) with Your mercy (steadfast love), that we may rejoice and be glad (sing for joy) all our days!”

What temptation has crept into your life and robbed you of your daily satisfaction as a beloved child of God? Confess your faithlessness, live in the fear of the Lord, and echo the words of Paul in Philippians 4:11–13. Trust and obey.