What is the Fear of the Lord?

After writing on the spirit of fear for the past few posts, I wanted to spend some time discussing a holy fear – The Fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is mentioned throughout the Bible and many people get confused about it.

We live in an age when it’s popular to tell others that “you have a friend in Jesus.” And while, this is absolutely correct, its still incomplete. We do have a friend in Jesus, but we should also have a deep holy respect for who He is – the Lord of all creation.

It’s an easy pitfall to become too casual with God. While we are his friend and through prayer we can talk to him as Moses did – like a man talks to his friend (Exodus 33:11), we are also supposed to fear Him. The Bible is quite clear about how important this is, yet we typically ignore these passages.

“The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.” Proverbs 19:23

In Church, we hear pastors preach on the fact that Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly, but most of the time, we don’t hear them connect it to this verse. In order to find that life that they are speaking of, we must embrace a holy fear. The fear of the Lord leads to life. That means in order to get to that abundant life, we must first walk down a path of fear, but this isn’t your ordinary fear.

There is a big difference between the spirit of fear, which tries to scare you, immobilize you, grip you and destroy you and the fear of the Lord which will bring you wisdom, understanding and empowerment from God. The fear of the Lord is a holy reverence. It’s all about treating the Lord as holy.

If we are going to find life, we have to first start with the idea that God is so much more glorious than we treat him. Our culture denigrates God. It treats him as common. We see movies and tv shows where God is mocked and treated with contempt. Even in our churches we do not hold him as holy. We look to him as a genie in the bottle – a wish grantor. We put ourselves up as God and demand that he fulfill all of our desires. This is sin. This is not reverence. God will not be mocked.

If you truly want to find life, you must humble yourself before the Lord. We cannot sit on His throne and claim to worship Him. We must fear Him. We must have a reverence for his name. He is not at our command and just because He calls us friend, it doesn’t give us the right to treat Him as less than who He actually is. He is God Almighty and He created the heavens and the earth. He rules from his throne with dominion, power and glory. We would be wise to remember that. In fact, the Bible says in Psalms 111:10, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

In times like these, let us remember that if we want life, if we want knowledge, if we want true wisdom, we must fear the Lord. He is holy and righteous and deserves our praise.

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