The Fear of The Lord
“Fearful: Teaching The Fear of The Lord,”
If that was the title for a book it wouldn’t be a NewYork Times bestseller. Maybe it isn’t encouraging enough. Maybe it’s too scary. People want to read nice things. For some reason religious things need to be in pastels, floral patterns, and pretentious tones of piety.
'The fear of the Lord,’ is a phrase few people write about, and even less understand. Honestly, I’m not sure how well I understand ‘the fear of the Lord’. However it would be a profitable exercise to go through the benefits of the fear of the Lord.
For starters, let’s not diminish the fear of the Lord by making it less what it is in reality. Hebrews 10:31, states that, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Or in Hebrews 4:1, “Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.” As recipients of the promise of God let us fear, lest we should fail to attain the promise.
Those passages seem to make ‘the fear of the Lord’ a rather enigmatic statement. It is fearful to fall into God’s hands, and while having the promise to enter his rest we are called to fear. It’s almost like we should shake in our boots fearing Him as we relate to Him.
Even so, Godly and biblical fear is not the same thing as terror and shaking in our boots. Psalm 19:9, teaches, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever…” Psalm 34:11, teaches that the fear of the Lord is something to be learned, “Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Genesis 15:1, teaches that there is a manner that we aren’t to fear, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
John Piper writes with clarity on this matter, “‘The fear of the Lord,’ is a very peaceful and secure feeling. In fact, fearing the Lord means counting on our fellowship with God to make us happier in the future than anything else could. Romans 15:4 says that the whole Bible was written to persuade us that this is true: Staying close to God and not running away into sin is the most hope-full way to live. Promise after promise verifies it: “the friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him” (Psalm 25:14). “How abundant is your goodness which you have laid up for those who fear you” (Psalm 31:19). “The eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love” (Psalm 33:18). “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). “As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him” (Psalm 103:11, 17). “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13). “He fulfills the desire of all who fear him” (Psalm 145:19).”
All in all it would do the follower of Christ well to meditate upon the fear of the Lord, upon what it means, and how it might become engrained into the essence of our personhood. Rather than submitting to the fear of the age, or the fear the news media sells, lets us possess the fear of the Lord which is pure.