Summary: The fear of God is a theme that is mentioned throughout the Bible. But it is a subject that has been neglected by many pastors and teachers of God’s word today. The fear of God is a very important aspect in a Christian’s life because it is a characteristi
Opening illustration: Seven years ago from today our country was under terrorist attack and the entire nation was in a grip of ’FEAR’ and ’AWE.’ Was God talking about this kind of fear or some other? Let us look into God’s Word and see what is this ‘Fear of the Lord.’
Biblical Background: The fear of God comes from the knowledge of God, which is from knowing God. The Bible tells us that the beginning of wisdom and knowledge is the fear of the Lord. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) As God’s presence is revealed to us physically and spiritually we stand in awesome respect of His power and majesty. The children of Israel had an encounter with God that made an impression on them at Mount Sinai. In God’s presence the people were terrified, but Moses explained that this was good for them. God had revealed a small portion of His power to them so that the fear of God would be with them to keep them from sinning.
The greater our knowledge of God the greater our love will be for Him, and the greater our fear (awesome respect) of Him will be also. When John first began to receive the Revelation of Jesus Christ he fell at His feet like a dead man.
Jesus taught us to fear God and not man. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:28-33)
There appears to be a growing trend among Christians are to "enjoy" God while, at the same time, there is a neglect on fearing God. There is no verse or passage in God’s Word implying to enjoy God. The fear of God is a theme that is mentioned throughout the Bible. But it is a subject that has been neglected by many pastors and teachers of God’s word today. The fear of God is a very important aspect in a Christian’s life because it is a characteristic of the Holy Spirit. A lack of the fear of God in a person’s life means they have a lack of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Without the fear of God a person becomes unbalanced in their understanding of God and in their relationship with the Lord. The fear of God causes His children to run to Him, and His enemies to flee from Him.
1. What is ‘The Fear of God?’ [Definition]
For the unbeliever, the fear of God is to fear the judgment of God and eternal death, which is eternal separation from God (Luke 12:5; Hebrews 10:31). For the believer, the fear of God is something much different. The believer’s fear is reverence of God. Hebrews 12:28-29 is a good description of this, "Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire." This reverence and awe is exactly what the fear of God means for Christians. This is the motivating factor for us to surrender to the Creator of the Universe.
Proverbs 1:7 declares, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” Until we understand who God is, and develop a reverential fear of Him, we cannot have true wisdom. True wisdom comes only from understanding who God is – that He is holy, just, and righteous. Deuteronomy 10:12, 20-21 records, "Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen." The fear of God is the basis for our walking in His ways, serving Him, and yes, loving Him. And Proverbs 1: 29 declares that ‘Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD.’