“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10) This Bible verse is the slogan we use in Children’s ministry in my church when growing up. When I was a child I understood the phrase “The fear of the Lord” to mean that I was to be afraid of God. This idea of being afraid of God did not really help to see God as a loving God, and as such I could have a good relationship with God. As I matured in my Christian faith I realized that there could be no one that could be ever loving than God is. I found God to be gracious, loving, merciful, so so good that words cannot capture the essence of God’s love towards us.
So then I asked the question if God is this awesome, why does the word of God asks to “fear God”. Well, that brings us to explore the meaning of fear as used in the Bible. The meaning of fear in Scripture falls into two categories. One meaning is negative and the other is positive. First, the negative meaning of fear is to be afraid, to be scared about the possibility of being harmed. Believers are encouraged through the Scriptures not be afraid for God is ever faithful to redeem, deliver, heal and be with us in all things.
Isaiah 43:1 is an example of fear as a negative word.
But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
The positive meaning is to be humble, revere and submit. As believers, we are called to fear God that is to honor, behold, exalt and be humble before God always.
Deuteronomy 10:12 is an example of fear as a positive word
12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
This expression of fear is manifested in our worship of God, how we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, obey God’s word, and abide in fellowship with God. As a Holy, Almighty God, God gave His life for us by coming on the earth as our Lord Jesus Christ to die for us that we may receive eternal life. Fear God is to be total awe of God’s goodness, love, grace, and mercy that He shows to us who were sinners. For the ultimate manifestation of love and grace, our reverence of God is nothing compared to who God is to us.
Solomon writes in Proverbs 1:7, that for a person to be truly proved to be knowledge, it is first evident by their fear of God and that is not fear that is to be afraid but the person reverence of God as a Holy God, the Maker of the Universe and all that exists in it and the One who alone can save. It is this knowledge that is worthy of all.
I pray that as beleivers all the days of our lives we devote ourselves to fear or revere God. I pray that God the Holy Spirit will help us all to become humble and revere God in Jesus’ name. Amen.
May God bless you all and always remember that Jesus Christ loves you for He gave His life to save you.