“In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and it will be a refuge for his children. The fear of the LORD is like a life-giving fountain, to turn people from deadly snares.”
Several years ago, a friend asked me to write a letter for her daughter, who was turning 13. The letter was to be about what I felt had been the most important thing in my life. I was humbled by the request and daunted at the task. What could I possibly have to say? At once it was overwhelming and obvious. The Holy Spirit guided me as I wrote page after page – the most significant, biggest blessing in my life has been the fear of the LORD. I thank God for it! If He had not revealed Himself and shown me that He alone is Holy and He alone could fulfill His righteous requirements, I would still be in darkness.
Rewind to when I was a child. I had, I believe, a prophetic dream when I was a young girl that impacted me greatly. In middle school, I knew of God and feared him. This kept me from engaging in gang activity, doing drugs, drinking, smoking, and premarital sex. I just did not want to hurt God and knew in my heart of hearts that those things were wrong – which was completely God’s mercy and grace in my life – that a reverence or fear of Him would keep me from sin, even while I was not yet saved.
When I came to know God at age 19, I was struck again with how Holy and awesome (an overused word today, truly reserved for God alone), God is. Knowing God as my personal Savior helped me to understand what the fear of the LORD looked like. It was not trepidation and separation – it was completely being overwhelmed in His presence but being able to draw near and be close with my Creator through the blood of Jesus. What a gift.
As an adult, I have had people ask me about this fear of the LORD. People have jeered and not understood. Some have pictured God to be a Santa Claus type figure in Heaven Who is petting lambs all the time – fearing Him seemed errant to them. One of my life verses is my e-mail address – Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction”. I have it there as a reminder to me, when I am tempted to treat God’s sacrifice casually and to acquiesce toward sin and disobedience.
There are more than 200 verses in all of the Bible regarding the fear of the LORD. It is important to God. God knows we need it to be able to walk faithfully with Him. The fear of the Lord is an understanding of Who God is and that there are objective standards He has set. He is the Ruler, Creator, the One Righteous Judge to Whom all mankind will answer. No one else. Solomon, who was the wisest man, said it well in Ecclesiastes when he said, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”.
Fearing God is not the same as fearing a wicked leader – God is completely good – there is nothing vile in Him. Living in reverent fear means we walk soberly – not as a foolish man who does not take life seriously. It helps to make our lives productive and worthwhile – not wasted. Life is a gift and we were meant to have fellowship with our God. The Scriptures are replete with promises from God to those who fear Him. Fear Him, today – draw near and taste and see how good the Lord is!
Lord, help us to understand more of You and to fear Your Holy Name! Give us understanding and open our eyes to see! You alone are worthy of all our praise!
Psalm 34:9 “Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!”
Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.”
Acts 10:35 “But in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
Psalm 145:19 “He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.”