Let us now understand the meaning of the fear of the Lord, why we should fear the Almighty God, and the benefits of fearing our Creator.
Table of Contents
Meaning of the Fear of the Lord
All accurate knowledge about spiritual reality begins with having proper respect and holy esteem for God. Fear of the Lord implies being in awe of His holiness, expressing complete reverence for Him, and honoring Him as the God of tremendous splendor, greatness, holiness, and might.
Why We Should Have the Fear of the Lord?
Because God is the Supreme Being and the Absolute One, we must fear Him. Humans are bound to revere Him because of His righteousness, majesty, magnificence, and personality. The disclosure of the Lord’s character, intentions, and strength underpin the fear of the LORD. We primarily revere and awe Him because we are aware of his fury and authority.
- The fear of the LORD is characterized by a strong love and deep reverence for God.
- The fear of the Lord means taking God seriously as He honors his promises and expects us to follow His rules.
- The fear of the LORD comes from knowing that God is seeing our every move, assessing our every intention, and knowing what we are thinking.
- The fear of the LORD means to love what God loves and to despise what he despises.
- Because of His unparalleled power as the God of the universe, we should practice the fear of the Lord. (Psalm 33:6-9; 96:4-5; John 1:9).
- The Heavenly Father’s incredible hold over his creation, including humanity, is a reason to be afraid of Him (Exodus 20:18-20; Ecclesiastes 3:14; John 1:11-16; Mark 4:39-41).
- The human spirit’s natural response to the Almighty’s holiness, purity, perfection, and seclusion from evil is to fear Him (Revelation 15:4).
- Anyone who witnesses or encounters a manifestation of God’s greatness, that is, a visual or tangible sign or demonstration, cannot help but feel terrified (Matthew 17:1-8).
- The Lord God’s constant gifts, particularly the remission of our sins (Psalm 130:4), should cause us to respect and adore Him (1 Samuel 12:24; Psalm 34:9; 67:7).
- The idea that the King of Kings is a Just God who will judge humanity should be enough to instill a genuine fear in us (Deuteronomy 17:12-13; Isaiah 59:18-19; Malachi 3:5; Hebrews 10:26-31).
The fact that God is always aware of our activities and reasons, both positive and negative, and that we shall be held responsible for those acts and thoughts, both now and in the future, is a sobering and indisputable truth, which makes the fear of the Lord a constant element in our lives.
4 Self-Reflecting Questions on the Fear of the Lord
We have a loving, forgiving, gracious, mighty, merciful, holy, just, and righteous God. Our Loving Father is omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, and omnipotent. God is so caring and compassionate that we forget that first and foremost we need to fear Him. All we want to hear is God is waiting to bless us. Hardly do we realize the benefits of fearing Him.
For a better understanding, let us pose four questions to ourselves and try to answer them.
- Does God want us to fear Him?
- Why does God want us to fear Him?
- How do we know if we fear Him?
- What do we gain by fearing Him?
Does God Want Us to Fear Him?
God doesn’t want anyone to be frightened of Him all of the time, even if that is where we begin our relationship with Him. Healthy, genuine fear of the Lord entails proper respect for the galaxy’s most powerful Being and the laws He has established for our good. Because God is love, we must fear Him and obey His commandments.
The Almighty’s authority over the universe is so incredible that it is terrifying. Our response should be one of awe, amazement, devotion, and honor and respect for Him.
The fear of the Lord is mentioned in about 274 verses in the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation. Some people believe that “fearing God” means having respect and reverence for Him. But, that is not the case, the Good Book encourages us to “fear” the Holy One instead of just “revere” or “respect” Him.
Fearing God, according to the author of Ecclesiastes, is the most constructive thing we can accomplish with our lives (Ecclesiastes 5:7, 12:13). Israel was also commanded by the prophet Nehemiah to fear God so that their enemies would not ridicule them (Nehemiah 5:9).
God wants to develop a rational fear in our hearts so that we don’t make bad decisions that contradict His commands. Our attitude of surrender and thankfulness forces us to heed His voice because we know His rules are for our benefit.
Deuteronomy 6:13: “Fear the LORD your God, serve Him only and take your oaths in His name.”
Psalm 2:11: “Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate His rule with trembling.”
2 Corinthians 5:11: “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.”
1 Peter 2:17: “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
From these verses, it is clear that God wants us to fear Him. Yes, the Lord desires this.
Why Does God Want Us to Fear Him?
We read in Deuteronomy 5:29 that “If only it would be their desire to fear me and obey all my commandments in the future, so that it may go well with them and their descendants forever.” and Deuteronomy 10: 12-13 says “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.”
Psalm 25:14 reminds us, “The Lord is a friend to those who fear Him.”
Psalm 103:17 says, “But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear Him.”
Proverbs 14:27 tells, “fear of the Lord is the fountain of life.”
Psalm 25:14 says, “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him…”
It is clear from the verses cited above that God wants us to fear Him so that He may bless us and our children. It is for our good that He wants it.
We also read in Proverbs 19:23 that “The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil” and Deuteronomy 6:24 says, “So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival”. But do we truly fear the Lord?
God is not happy when we fake our love or fear for Him. The Holy Bible says in Matthew 15:8, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” So we have to be true to the Supreme Being as He can read the innermost thoughts of our minds. People say that they have the fear of the Lord, but their deeds most of the time will prove otherwise. If this action of people can be so apparent to us mortal beings, imagine how visible it will be for the everlasting Lord.
How Do We Know If We Fear Him?
Now that we know God wants us to fear Him, let us try to understand if we genuinely fear Him. What does the Bible say about the fear of the Lord?
The Holy Bible says in Proverbs 8:13, “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” The Scripture also says in Proverbs 14: 2, “Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.”
If we truly fear the Lord, we should hate what is evil in God’s sight: pride, arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse speech. Let us try to understand what each means.
“Pride” means having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.
“Arrogance” is defined as having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s importance or abilities. In other words, regarding ourselves as superior to those around us.
Many times these thoughts creep into our minds unknowingly especially when we are continuously appreciated for being talented or good. But the Holy Scripture says in James 1:17 that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
As believers, we need to have this idea embedded in our minds so that we start thanking God when we are appreciated. This will also help us in not getting proud as the Scriptures say in 1 Corinthians 1:31 “Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
“Evil behavior” is defined as deeds that are morally wrong or bad or actions that are harmful or detrimental to ourselves as well as others. We should avoid performing any act that might cause harm to people around us. Christian living calls for being at peace with one another and forgiving one another’s mistakes. The Bible says “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” in Ephesians 4:31-32.
“Perverse speech” are words that are rude or irritating. Evil can also appear in words. Jesus cautions in Matthew 12:34, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” When evil resides in the heart, it will be exposed in perverse speech. In Proverbs 6:12, we read, “A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a perverse mouth.” If we speak with a wicked tongue, we speak in an ungodly manner. Let us avoid sinning through words.
We saw things that we need to avoid, now let us concentrate on how we need to be if we fear God. The Bible says “walk upright”. What does walking upright mean? We read in Psalms 119:1-3 “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways.“
The Bible also says in Isaiah 33:15,16 “He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil. They are the ones who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. Their bread will be supplied, and water will not fail them.”
So let us self-examine ourselves every day to know if we continue to practice the fear of the Lord. Let us detest the ways that are not pleasing in God’s sight and try every day to please the Lord God. No one can be perfect in the Almighty’s eyes, and our Heavenly Father knows that. He is our Creator who remembers we are dust.
The Bible says in Psalms 103:14 “For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” He knows that by ourselves we can do nothing as Jesus says in John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
So let us pray to God and tell Him that we truly want to fear Him and ask for His guidance and blessing in exhibiting the fear of the Lord in our daily life.
What Do We Gain by Fearing Him?
God rewards those who fear Him. Let us read a few verses. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” Psalm 103: 13 “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” Proverbs 31: 30 “O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.”
Psalm 34:9 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalms 84:11 “He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity” Proverbs 2:7
From these verses, we know God is compassionate towards those who fear Him. He gives them knowledge, wisdom, protection, and all good things. He also bestows favor and honor to those who fear Him. These are the promises we have when we have the fear of the Lord in our hearts and minds. As an added incentive, the one who fears the Lord need not fear any man and can also lead a guilt-free life which is also a gift from God.
God bless you and your families.