Summary: Three questions today. 1) What is the fear of God? 2) Why should we fear God? 3) How can we encourage the fear of the Lord in our lives and the lives of others? (Material adapted from David Hocking on Blue Letter Bible under The Fear of God)
C.S. Lewis’ book, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, contains some powerful quotes that are a good reminder of the nature of God and how we relate to him. In the story, Aslan, the great lion, portrays Jesus. Part of a conversation between Susan (one of the 4 children in the story) and Mr. Beaver: Mr. Beaver says, “Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Oh,” says Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” “Safe?” says Mr. Beaver. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” The Lord of Scripture is not “safe,” but he is good (“Those who fear him” vs. 7 and “Fear the Lord” vs. 9 contrasted to “Taste and see that the LORD is good” vs. 8).
We find this same situation illustrated by Lewis again in The story of Jill and the Silver Chair. Jill, this little girl who's the central character, develops a relationship with Aslan, the lion of Narnia who is the Lord. And the most tender, precious, close relationship of love that you could imagine develops between this little girl and Aslan. But first Jill had to learn to fear the lion. So, she meets him in the beginning at a stream where he's standing. He's huge and menacing and awesome. "Are you thirsty?" asked the lion. "I'm dying of thirst," said Jill. "Then drink," said the lion. "May I…could I…Would you mind going away while I do?" asked Jill. The lion answered this with only a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at his motionless bulk she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move away for her convenience. The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic. "Will you promise not, not, not to do anything to me" Jill asked," if I come?" "I make no promises," said the lion. Jill was so thirsty that by now without noticing it she'd come a step nearer. "Do you…do you eat little girls?" "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women, men, kings, emperors, cities, and realms," said the lion. And he didn't say this as if it were boasting nor as if it were sorry nor as if he were angry; he just said it. "I dare not come and drink," said Jill. "Then you will die of thirst," said the lion. "Oh dear,” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then." "There is no other stream," said the lion.
Thesis: Three questions today. 1) What is the fear of God? 2) Why should we fear God? 3) How can we encourage the fear of the Lord in our lives and the lives of others?
What is the fear of God?
If we study each reference in OT to fear we find that "fear" means fear. Many try to downplay this but fear still contains a sense of being afraid. This understanding of fear is never to be absent from the Christian’s heart-never. Now part of my relationship to God involves my fear of God. In fact, Biblically speaking all believers fear God and all nonbelievers do not fear God. But there is a lot more than this.