Fear of the Lord
by PJ Salas reverence
"Come now children, hearken to me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord." Psalms 34:11.
The expression, fear of the Lord, can elicit apprehension and alarm, rightfully so, as this sometimes is the intention. However, the phrase fear of the Lord is much more than being afraid.
Because there are multiple meanings, understanding the "fear of the Lord" requires contextual consideration. Generally, the phrase denotes reverence, respect, worship, and fearfulness (Psalms 2:11; 96:9; Isaiah 8:13); however, there are other significant intentions.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." Proverbs 9:10.
Living in the wisdom of God's counsel and His commandments brings understanding, and is another aspect of the fear of the Lord. It is knowing God's Word, following His instruction, seeking His wisdom, and receiving His understanding (Proverbs 1:7; James 1:5).
In applying ourselves to the knowledge of the Bible we are enlightened, instructed, and taught by God in the way we should go, and acting in the fear of the Lord. (Proverbs 15:33; Psalms 25:12).
Depart from Evil
"By mercy and truth iniquity (sin) is purged; and by the fear of the Lord people depart from evil." Proverbs 16:6.
Departing from evil is another facet of the fear of the Lord. When it comes to sin we should tremble, not only because it is offensive to God; but because it is harmful to us and to others.
Living in accordance with God's commandments is to depart from sin, for sin is the breaking of His commandments (1 John 3:4). Sin is wickedness and it is evil; and to live in sin is to be contrary to God and His law.
When we seek God and pray for His help to stop sinning, we are departing from evil; and living in the fear of the Lord. By His merciful grace and forgiveness, through the light of His Word our sin is purged, and evil departs from us.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and all those who do His commandments have a good understanding (Psalms 111:10).
"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride, arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth I (the Lord) hate." Proverbs 8:13.
Pride, arrogance, covetousness, lying, not worshiping God in truth and Spirit, and the breaking of all His commandments is sin (1 John 3:4), it is wickedness and evil; and we should hate it.
To hate evil is to eschew it. When we daily feed in the Lord's Word, His Bible, we see our self for who we are, and long to improve through Jesus. We begin to hate the things God hates, and love what He loves. We see who we are naturally, and realize how much we need Jesus. This also is the fear of the Lord.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter, fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13.
When we live in accordance with God's Word and His commandments, we are departing from sin (1 John 3:4), from evil and wickedness. Obedience to the Almighty is key to a life of love and faithfulness, and in living in the fear of the Lord.
The Bible says that we have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). But, praise be to Jesus who gives us the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57). In faith, we put down sin and obey the truth of God. Faith is not only believing, it is living in the truth; and Jesus enables us to do it.
"For everything that has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith." 1 John 5:4.
Worship Reverence and Respect
Let all the earth fear the Lord; and let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of the Almighty. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; fear before Him, all the earth. Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, come before Him, and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Psalms 33:8; 96:9; 1 Chronicles 16:29.
There are times we should be in the fear of the Lord in the sense of being afraid, especially concerning sin; but God does not want us to flee from Him, He wants us to come to Him and confess our sin (1 John 1:9).
The Lord desires us to know and understand who He is; and when we do, it is awe-inspiring. As we learn about God, and understand Him more, we are filled with a reverential respect for Him that inspires us to worship Him. This is the purest sense of the expression "fear of the Lord".
By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor, and life. In His fear is strong confidence, and His children have a place of refuge; and it is a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death (Proverbs 22:4; 10:27; 4:26, 27).
The Lord blesses those who fear Him, both small and great. To those who fear and trust in the Lord, He is their help and shield, and they abide satisfied, and are not visited with evil. Wisdom and knowledge are their stability and strength of salvation; and the fear of the Lord is their treasure. (Psalms 115:13, 11; Proverbs 19:23; Isaiah 33:6).
Indeed, the fear of the Lord is our treasure, our true and grand riches; living the good and right life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The blessings and benefits of living in the "fear of the Lord" are tremendous, meaningful, and rewarding.
Knowing God, understanding who He is, and abiding in His truth and love is fundamental in fearing the Lord; and it effects genuine happiness. As a result, we dread sin, and respectfully reverence and worship God in the beauty of His holiness, which is the heart of being a God fearing person.
"Oh fear the Lord, all His saints (believers), for there is no want for those who fear Him." Psalms 34:9.