In lieu of the current situation that we have now, I thought of posting this paper that I wrote for the school which talks about fear of the LORD.
For most people, whenever they hear the fear of the LORD it brings some chill to their spine and think of it as something that’s unbearable and totally negative. At some point, there’s a biblical truth in it—that yes, the fear of the LORD should bring chill down to our spine but this is not something we can’t bear and do, and this is not a negative idea, but actually one of the most wonderful thing to ever have in our lives.
The fear of the LORD according to Psalm 110:10 is the beginning of wisdom or knowledge according to Proverbs 1:7. It’s interesting for Solomon, the wisest man to ever live to say this—that to fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. He understood that it’s not education, extensive training or experience will jump start the wisdom on a person but a holy fear of the LORD.
One of the earliest times that the fear of the Lord was mentioned in the bible was when the time of Moses when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt. At that time when God was giving the Egyptians plagues because their Pharaoh’s heart was so hardened and other Egyptians are suffering greatly, they feared the word of the LORD.
Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. –Exodus 9:20
As we understand the background of this text, we can see that the Egyptians have experienced the wrath of God already in their lives because of their own disobedience and wickedness and they responded in fearing the word of God that just saved their lives from further harm. But still some didn’t respond correctly which brought harm in their lives and their family as well.
And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.—Exodus 14:31
We can see here that even if the wrath of God was not given against the Israelites, even if God’s favour was upon them they still got the point and responded right before the Lord and feared Him. I believe that the fear of the Lord can be grasped even before He shows His wrath against us. We can learn the lesson the easier way even by looking at the lives of the people who disobeyed and chose to rebel against Him. We can either choose to learn from the experience of others and submit in humility and fear before God or be prideful or bring harm upon ourselves.
But before we dwell more on the results of choosing to fear or not to fear the Lord, let’s look first on what the bible speaks about the “What”—What is really the fear of the Lord? We have looked upon what Solomon says about the fear of the Lord already and we were able to find out that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The following verses also speak of what the fear of the LORD is.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.-Psalm 19:9
The fear of God is something that is not motivated by evil thoughts. It is first and foremost pure and holy. It endues forever, it will stand the test of time and will not perish.
To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.-Proverbs 8:13
The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor-Proverbs 15:33
The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.-Proverbs 19:23
We can see here that as Solomon spoke of the fear of the LORD, he underscored how the fear of the LORD hates evil. At first glance, it speaks of an external action of not doing evil but I believe the fear of the LORD is deeper than our external actions; it goes down to the resolution of our heart and to the very convictions of our spirits. It speaks of a heart that’s abandoned into serving Christ alone and seeking to please only Him. And as we read further, Solomon spoke of how the fear of the LORD brings wisdom and contentment in our lives and that we are untouched by trouble. I believe that as the fear of the LORD goes down deep into our very hearts and soul; it will embody a life that is lived in wisdom and humility before the LORD.
As we have a proper understanding about what the fear of the LORD is—something that is inside of us not just an external action, we should also look through what the bible is saying about why we should fear God.
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.-1 Chronicles 16:25
We fear God because first and foremost, he should be rightly so be feared. He is the one and only true God–the greatest above all and most worthy of praise. We fear Him not because of anything we have done or of anything we want Him to do for us, but we fear Him because that’s the right thing to do. Fearing God is putting ourselves to our proper position and giving God what’s due His name—that we are His mere creation and He is our Great Creator.
The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.-Deuteronomy 6:24
It’s just amazing that even as God truly deserves to be feared and commands us to fear and obey Him, he does it for our own good not because He needs it or He won’t be complete if we won’t fear Him. In fact, whether or not we fear Him or not, He will still be God and won’t lessen any of His glory and honor.
And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,–Deuteronomy 10:12
What brings me to my knees every time I reflect upon the fear of the LORD is knowing that God does not impose himself to us as someone who is brutal and insensitive, rather He ASKS us. How can the King of kings and the Lord of lords who rightfully deserves to be feared ask of us to fear him? I was just so struck with the compassion that God has for us his people, that the one thing that he asks of us is to fear Him that all may go well with us.
As we go on further onto studying what the fear of the LORD is, we will discover more the beauty and grace that comes with it.
Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.
Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.—Psalm 112:1
The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.—Proverbs 10:27
The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.—Psalm 25:14
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,–Psalm 33:18
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.-Psalm 34:7
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;–Psalm 103:13
The fear of God happens in an intimate relationship with Him. The more that we grow in our understanding of who He is in our lives, the more it becomes easier for us to surrender into His Lordship and submit in a holy fear. The more we submit to Him, the more that the fear of God becomes real in our lives.
Fearing God is knowing who He truly is and rightfully giving Him the glory due His name in our lives. The fear of the LORD is submitting rightfully in His Lordship and acknowledging that we are not God and He is. As we respond in the fear of God, it means we rightfully humble ourselves and not think of ourselves more highly that we ought to.
As I studied what the bible says about the fear of the Lord, I was so convicted for those times that I didn’t even regard to Him as someone who is to be feared. I believe that even as I understand more and more about who He is, this should not bring familiarity in my relationship with Him. He deserves to be treated as God and nothing less.