One of the most important spiritual concepts found throughout the Bible is the “fear of the Lord.”
What is the “fear of the Lord?” What exactly does it mean?
Let’s turn to scripture together to see what the Bible has to say.
From the pen of Moses, we read:
“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.”
The above passage, which contains the directives to a burgeoning Jewish nation governed under Mosaic Law, connects the “fear of the Lord” with keeping all of God’s “statutes and His commandments.”
Put simply, “fearing” the Lord has a strong connection to an obedience to God’s will.
Those Israelites who obeyed God by “fearing” Him, walking in His ways, and finding delight in His commands, were declared “blessed.” (Ps. 112:1, 115:13, 128:1)
These blessings remain intact for those today who will cultivate a “fear of the Lord” in their daily lives. The Bible promises seven wonderful blessings to those who “fear the Lord,” “keep His commands,” and “walk in his ways.”
1. Deep Spiritual Knowledge
A God-fearing attitude is crucial for those who desire meaningful scriptural knowledge. This is because true spiritual knowledge is only granted to those who “fear” the Lord.
This is confirmed in Proverbs 1:7:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction”
Those who seek spiritual knowledge are the opposite of “fools,” who despise “instruction.” We do well to desire God’s instruction in our lives.
WISDOM KEY: If you desire to plumb the depths of the spiritual knowledge available to you through God’s Word, begin by humbling yourself before God with an attitude of deep reverence and holy fear. Your understanding of scripture is directly related to your understanding of your place before God.
2. Divine Wisdom
Knowledge is not the only spiritual door that can be unlocked through the “fear of the Lord.”
According to Psalm 111:10:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.”
When we “fear” God, His divine and unfathomable wisdom becomes available to us. (Notice another reference to those who “do” God’s commands within the immediate context, thus connecting the “fear of the Lord” with an active state of obedience, “do.”)
In Job 28:28, we read:
“‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.'”
Here, the scripture endorses the “fear of the Lord” as not just an act of wisdom, but even wisdom itself!
Later, in the book of Isaiah, we read:
“He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.” (Isa. 33:6)
Here, we can clearly see that the “fear of the Lord” is the key that unlocks the door to God’s spiritual riches!
WISDOM KEY: Cultivate an attitude of Godly fear. When you do, you will hold the key that unlocks the door to God’s wondrous riches of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge.
3. A Unique Weapon Against Sin
In Ex. 20:20, Moses attempts to calm the people after they experience the mighty presence of God at Mount Sinai.
Moses reassures them saying:
“Don’t be afraid… for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!”
The “fear of the Lord” plays a unique role in the Christ follower’s ongoing battle against their sin nature. Our ability to resist sin undoubtedly is connected to the new-found spiritual knowledge and divine wisdom that is available to those who fear God.
WISDOM KEY: If you are struggling with sin, examine your attitude towards heaven. Do you fear God enough to want to please him, even when no one is looking?
4. The Mercy of God
The greatest gift that God could ever give us is mercy. After all, the grave sins that humanity has committed against God, and His glorious name, are entirely unforgivable. Through arrogance, humanity as a whole has defied God’s will and purposes. For this reason, we all deserve the ultimate judgment.
However, through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, all men now have access to God’s complete forgiveness and infinite mercy!
How do you receive God’s rich mercy?
According to Luke 1:50, God’s mercy is reserved for “those who fear him from generation to generation.”
It is a wonderful promise: God’s mercy is extended to those who fear Him and keep His commandments.
WISDOM KEY: All who desire God’s mercy for their sins must first fear Him. Without a reverent attitude toward heaven and a repentant heart, men have no hope after this life.
The book of Proverbs is filled with references on how those who “fear” the Lord have access to God’s life-giving power.
The fear of the Lord can prolong life…
“The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.”
It preserves and protects our life…
“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.”
Finally, note that Proverbs also describes something else as a “fountain of life”…
“The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn aside from the snares of death.”
The door of divine wisdom stands wide open to those who “fear God and keep his commandments.”
WISDOM KEY: Those who desire to live life to its richest measure can begin by fearing the Lord.
6. Protection for You and Your Children
The Bible is clear that there are unseen spiritual blessings that will serve to protect you from your adversary. So too, the parent who models a life of godly fear and obedience to God’s Word will provide a hedge of protection around even his children.
“Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.”
WISDOM KEY: Your entire household will benefit from your commitment to a humility based upon the “fear” of the Lord.
7. Friendship with God
In Psalm 25, there is an amazing promise made to those who “fear” the Lord.
“The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.”
The promise in this verse is two-fold.
First, the fear the Lord is crucial to obtaining friendship with God. If friendship with the God of eternity were not enough, this verse also promises that those who fear the Lord will be made to know God’s covenant.
The blood covenant that God has established with mankind through His only Son, Jesus Christ, provides salvation to all who will partake.
WISDOM KEY: Through a righteous and holy fear of the Lord, we can gain friendship with God and come to an intimate knowledge of His covenant with man.
Fearing God is not passive. It is not something that you did once. It is active. Not static, but dynamic.
A righteous and holy “fear” of the Lord displays itself through a humble and reverent obedience to God’s will, purposes, and commands.
Scripture is clear that the eternal benefits of “fearing” the Lord far outweigh the temporal costs on this earth.