For my life is spent with sorrow And my years with sighing; My strength has failed because of my iniquity, And my body has wasted away.
As I researched what it meant to fear the Lord I was only brought to more questions. After some more reading and studying, researching and a hint of anger I came to my conclusion- that the … Well lets hold off for a second! There are so many views concerning the fear of God many conflicting and many working cogs to give us the bigger picture. From the perspective that God is yearning to strike down His people for the smallest infraction to beliefs stating that the fear of God is a lie from the “fundies” for control. I mean the writings are all over the place, digging and digging as if for fire I started to piece it together.
A lot of time the fear of the Lord is over-simplified to mean reverence and awe towards our infinite God. This however caused conflict in me and through much prayer I decided that this cannot be it. Of course I was right and got a glimpse of the bigger picture. Reverence and awe are a huge part of fearing God but how does fear and awe of God bring us wisdom, knowledge, understanding, prolonged life, confidence, riches, and honor (Proverbs 1:7, 29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26,27; 15:16, 33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4)? With reverence and awe of God comes the knowledge and understanding that our great omnipresent (not limited by time or space- everywhere yesterday today and forever) God sees and judges mankind. When we live life in the fear of God, that is to say living life knowing that God is with us and watching our actions it has the great benefits I mentioned.
Jesus Christ lived His life exemplifying the Fear of the Lord even prophesied by Isaiah that He would delight in the Fear of the Lord, “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;” (Isaiah 11:2-3). Jesus also instructed us to fear God; in fact there is great application and understanding that springs up from Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:28. Jesus when instructing His disciples to boldly preach the His doctrines, He said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” This statement is a lot more than reverence and awe; this is even more than living life knowing that God knows our deeds. The word used for “do not fear” is the same used for “rather fear Him” Jesus is instructing His disciples to fear God because God can eternally punish. Within its context, I believe we can cross reference Matthew 7 and assert that if out of fear of man we disobey God’s Will Jesus will tell us that He never knew us and for eternity we will regret our lack of fear towards God.
Let us look at Nehemiah, he was being called to Jerusalem but was the kings cupbearer. He had to boldly ask the king if he could go and rebuild Jerusalem’s wall fearing God more than the king that conquered Babylon. When he was building the wall and doing God’s will enemies of Israel wanted to destroy the work, some of the workers began to fear but Nehemiah reassured them of God’s power. They worked with guards stationed but more than this, they worked carrying stone and material in one hand and a weapon in the other. These men did not fear men, but were ready for battle without stopping work. Instead of fearing men, we must continually build bridges into the hearts of people, continually sow gospel seeds that when cultivated by God they will grow into marvelous faith. Proudly and boldly we must proclaim the Gospel without fear, the worse that can happen is death but we are in America- maybe a bad look or disapproval. However, God’s eternal condemnation for our disobedience (Matthew 7 is a similar conversation meant for another time) so far outweighs a bad look, disapproval, even judgment and alienation by those you thought were brothers and sister. Let us fear God and do His will, a true sign of true redemption!
Fearing God is reverence and awe of our God whose knowledge and judgment we cannot escape, knowing that He can and will punish the sinner. We understand that fearing God is a foundation to Christian living, that when we live life fearing God that His will … will be done and His standards will be met to the best of our abilities! Our reasonable act of service is to be living sacrifices to God’s will, with much boldness and striving we must give Him the proper place in our lives. The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)