Cover 2019-07-28

Ron Writes

The Fear of God

The “fear of God” has taken on some negative connotations. It’s not very popular these days. Folks want to hear about love or grace. Yet the Bible has a great deal to say about the “fear of the Lord.”

“The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). It’s “the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (Eccl. 12:13). Job was a “God-fearing” man (1:1). He said “I am terrified before Him…. I fear Him…. The Almighty has terrified me” (23:15-16). “Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” (Ps. 33:8).

It’s tempting to downplay the idea of fear and use replacement words such as “respect,” “honor” or “reverence”. However the Hebrew words that “fear” translates actually mean “terror,” “fear” or “dread”. There are actually Hebrew words that convey a gentler meaning.

How does fear fit into a Bible that seems to emphasize God’s love? How do we get to love? We begin with fear. “Fear is the beginning of knowledge.” How can you comprehend the love of God without first appreciating the fear of God? Without fear, terror, dread, wonder, and reverence for a perfectly holy and just God, you cannot comprehend the utterly good news and love of God. The idea that we can actually come into the presence of God, by the blood of Jesus is nearly beyond comprehension (Heb. 10).

The Christian life begins with fear, but ends in blessing. “Oh let those who fear the LORD say, “His lovingkindness is everlasting” (Ps. 118:4). “Perfect love replaces (casts out) fear” (1 Jn 4:18). “The Lord favors those who fear him” (Ps. 147:11). “How blessed is the man who fears the Lord” (Ps. 112:1). “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you” (Ps. 31:19). Fear takes us on a journey to joy. There is a blessing for those who have an unwavering respect of God’s awesomeness. Blessing, joy, peace (Acts 9:31) and love come to those who truly fear the Lord.