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What is the Fear of the Lord?

The fear of the Lord is a wholehearted reverence and respect for God that causes a person to be awed and humbled by His presence, and which motivates one to want to please God at all costs, and not want to do anything that will displease or hurt Him.  When we have this kind of humble and reverent attitude towards God, it will show in the way we think, speak, behave, and in all that we do.  The fear of the Lord means that we have such respect and reverence for God that we don’t want to do anything to displease, dishonor, or hurt Him.

Why should we fear the Lord?

  • Because He is worthy to be feared
  • Because the Lord instructs us to fear Him
  • Out of love, respect, and gratitude for Him
  • Because it produces great benefits in our lives

What are some benefits of fearing the Lord?

1.  The Fear of the Lord is The Beginning Of Wisdom

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)  “The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom….” (Proverbs 15:33)  The best place to begin the search for true wisdom is by fearing the Lord.  True fear of the Lord comes from knowing the power, might, and goodness of God.  Before we can obtain wisdom, which comes from the Lord, we must first learn to fear Him.

2. The Fear of the Lord Helps You Avoid Evil

“…through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.” (Proverbs 16:6)  “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7)  These verse tell us that fearing the Lord helps us turn away from evil and live holy lives.  People who truly revere the Lord will not do anything that brings dishonor or pain to Him.  Those who genuinely fear the Lord will run away from evil, not run to it.  The thought of causing the Lord pain will be too great to bear!

3. The Fear of the Lord Prolongs Your Life

“The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.” (Proverbs 10:27)  Any number of things can happen to cut our lives short.  But, generally speaking, those who live in the fear of the Lord are more likely to live a longer life than those who live for the flesh and follow the ways of the world.  A life lived in obedience and the fear of the Lord will result in a much healthier existence.

4. The Fear of the Lord Makes You Secure

“He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a place of refuge.” (Proverbs 14:26)  When we walk in the fear of the Lord, we can have confidence that God is on our side. The person who walks in the fear of the Lord and lives in obedience to Scripture will have fewer feelings of fear, abandonment and insecurity.  The fear of the Lord produces a strong sense of security and close fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

5. The Fear of the Lord Produces Life

“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man away from the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:27)  When we walk in the fear of the Lord, we are stronger spiritually than we could be otherwise.  The fear of the Lord is like a fountain that continually springs up with spiritual liveliness and strength.  This enables us to walk cleaner and closer with God, and helps us avoid the temptations and traps of the enemy.

6. The Fear of the Lord Makes Your Life Better

“Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure with trouble.” (Prov. 15:16)  It’s better to have only a few resources and be walking in the fear of the Lord than to have great treasures that come with trouble.  When you walk in the fear of the Lord, then your care is His responsibility.  You don’t go out searching for ways to make your life better.  God makes your life better.  The life lived in faith and in the fear of God is free from worries.  It is untroubled, calm, relaxed and better.

7.  The Fear of the Lord Produces Satisfaction And Safety

“The fear of the LORD leads to life: and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil.” (Proverbs 19:23)  The person who lives in the fear of God will be a satisfied person.  They will have one goal in life, pleasing the Lord.  And, by doing so, their needs will be met and they will be happy.  When we have to have “stuff” to make us happy, we never will be!  When we learn to be satisfied with the Lord and fearing Him, we will be permanently satisfied. Notice that this verse also says the one who fears the LORD will not be visited with evil.  Fearing the Lord provides safety and protection.

8. The Fear of the Lord Brings Great Blessings

“Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)  The person who chooses to fear the Lord can be certain that this decision will bring blessings.  There will be spiritual riches beyond belief (peace, joy, security, the promises of God, the presence of God, etc.), there will be honor from the Lord, and there will be abundant life. The fear of the Lord produces the greatest possible life that any person can ever live.  There is no better life upon this earth than a life lived in the fear of the Lord! 

9. The Fear of the Lord Guarantees That You Will Lack Nothing

“Fear the Lord, you His godly people, for those who fear Him will have all they need.” (Psalm 34:9)

10. The Fear of the Lord Brings God’s Angels to Encamp Around You

“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7)

11. The Fear of the Lord Opens the Door for God to Confide in You

“The LORD confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them.” (Psalm 25:14)

12. The Fear of the Lord Causes God to Have Compassion on You

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:13)

13. The Fear of the Lord Allows You to Experience God’s Love

“But from everlasting to everlasting, the LORD’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children.” (Psalm 103:17)

14. The Fear of the Lord Causes God to Take Pleasure in You

“The Lord’s delight is with those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His unfailing love.  (Psalm 147:11)

 

How can we learn to fear the Lord?

In Proverbs 2:1-5 we see an if-then statement that shows us step-by-step how to receive the fear of the Lord.

         My son, if you receive my words,
         And treasure my commands within you,
         So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
         And apply your heart to understanding;
         Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
         And lift up your voice for understanding,
         If you seek her as silver,
         And search for her as for hidden treasures;
         Then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
         And find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)

The conditions – the “IFs” – for receiving the fear of the Lord.

If you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you.

Receive God’s Word with respect, with an attitude of submission and obedience.  Receive it as the most valuable element of your life.  Treasure it.  The Hebrew word “treasure” means to store something up in the secret place, because it is of the most value to you.

So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding.

When someone is speaking to you and you really want to listen intently, you lean in—even bow your head.  That’s what it means to incline your ear.  It also demonstrates a submissive and obedient attitude.  You become teachable.

Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding.

This indicates a heart committed to prayer—sincere, powerful, fervent prayer.  This doesn’t mean making a public scene when you pray.  In fact, wholehearted prayer between just you and God can be more productive than public prayer.

If you seek for her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures.

God doesn’t put everything out in the open.  He doesn’t put His jewels on the pavement for anybody to just pick up.  He puts them in places where you have to find them and grasp for them.  This is how we need to approach wisdom.  Search for it wherever it may be found.

After the “IFs”—we come to the “THEN”—the promise.

Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge and wisdom of God.  The knowledge and wisdom of God cannot be separated from the fear of the Lord.

And, the fear of the Lord is a fear that only the Holy Spirit can teach.  Psalm 34:11 says, “Come you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”  Ask God to give you the fear of the Lord?  He won’t do it against your will, and He won’t threaten you.  He offers, but you have to receive His words, treasure His commands, listen for His wisdom, apply your heart, cry out for understanding, and search and seek for it.

“Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)