“In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD.”
The Psalmist gives specific answers to the questions, “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” (1) One does not have to wonder what God expects of those who hope to dwell with Him. This qualification has to do with the way we honor others.
In our text, we are given the reputation of two different types of people, “a vile person” and “them that fear the LORD,” and the way God would have us esteem them. First, we should note that it is not Christian to be hateful, rude, or disrespectful to any person, even the ungodly. The point of our verse is that a distinction should be made between the way we look up to, or recognize, those who merit it and those who don’t.
First, the man who abides with God should not honor the “vile person.” The word, contemn means “to disesteem or despise.” God is not honored when His children honor the ungodly. You can tell much about a person by the people he or she exalts. The unsaved often have as their heroes some of the most wicked of people. The images of movie stars, famous athletes, and rock music icons cover their possessions. They speak highly of the ungodly.
As Christians, we should have a different view of who is worthy of being praised. We should not envy the wicked. Our verse says, “in whose eyes a vile person is contemned.” The eyes of God’s people should not be coveting the lifestyle or the possessions of the ungodly. By contrast, we should honor those “that fear the LORD.” It is not a person’s possessions or position in life that makes him worthy of recognition. Rather, those who love and serve God are to be held in highest regard. There is nothing that says a person of sincere faith cannot succeed in life. There are those who love God genuinely and have been blessed with great success, even in the eyes of the world. Also, there are many godly men and women who have little of this world’s goods, yet are faithful servants to Christ and His Word.
Virtue should always be held in a higher place than talent, popularity, or material possessions. Parents should be careful not to praise or envy the wicked or the worldly. To the contrary, we should teach our children to recognize and honor men and women who “fear the LORD.”