Don’t Fear the Fear of the Lord.
“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” – Proverbs 9:10 NLT
The fear of the Lord, while a biblical topic, is not a popular one among most Christians today. We find it uncomfortable talking about it because it sounds distasteful and unappealing to our sensibilities. In our minds, fear is to be avoided at all costs. It’s why we light up our homes like Christmas trees, hook them up with security systems, and lock them tight at night. We want to remove all fear by providing as much security as we possibly can. But what motivated our actions? What caused us to put the security system in, install extra locks on the doors, and turn on the lights at night? It was all motivated by fear. You see, in reality, fear can be a very positive influence in our lives. And the fear of the Lord is one of the positively influential attitudes we can pursue. Over in Proverbs 28:14, we’re told, “Happy is the man in whom is the fear of the Lord at all times; but he whose heart is hard will come into trouble.” There is a joy and contentment that comes with learning to fear God. It was the Puritan minister, John Bunyan, who referred to the fear of the Lord as a gift or grace from God. It is HIS fear that He places in OUR hearts. It is a holy recognition and realization of His holiness, righteousness, power, and singular role as the ruler over all the universe. Listen to John Bunyan’s description of the fear of the Lord:
Had God given thee all the world, yet cursed hadst thou been, if he had not given thee the fear of the Lord; for the fashion of this world is a fading thing, but he that feareth the Lord shall abide for ever and ever. This therefore is the first thing that I would propound for thy encouragement, thou man that fears the Lord. This grace will dwell in thy heart, for it is a new covenant grace, and will abide with thee for ever. It is sent to thee from God, not only to join thy heart unto him, but to keep thee from final apostasy—“I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me” (Jer 32:40). That thou mayest never forsake God, is his design, and therefore, to keep thee from that wicked thing, he hath put his fear in thy heart. Many are the temptations, difficulties, snares, traps, trials, and troubles that the people of God pass through in the world, but how shall they be kept, how shall they be delivered, and escape? Why, the answer is, The fear of God will keep them — “He that feareth God shall come forth of them all.”
The fear of the Lord is a grace. It is a gift from God that He places in our hearts and provides for us so that we might live for Him. It is not something to be avoided or feared. It is a motivating factor in our lives that produces wise behavior. It protects us, watches over us, guides us, motivates us, and keeps us centered on Him as our one true source for all that we need. The fear of the Lord keeps us from fearing man. Because I fear the Lord, I don’t need to fear financial loss or even physical death. My God is greater than both. It is when I learn to fear God for who He is that I will begin to grow in wisdom and understanding. Life will begin to make sense. I will see the world through a different set of lenses. I will gain a new perspective on reality. It is the foundation of wisdom. And as I grow to know God better and better, I will develop good judgment. He will give me the capacity to make wise choices and good decisions. I will instinctively know what to do and when to do it. But it all begins with the fear of the Lord. That’s a good thing.
Father, help me to see the fear of You as a good thing, not a bad thing. Help me to understand that it is not an aversion to You or a dread of You. It is a healthy, wholesome respect for and recognition of who You are and a realization of just how much I need You to thrive in this life. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men