What does it mean to have the fear of the Lord? The word fear has several meanings.
One of the definitions of the word fear by Oxford Living Dictionaries is that fear is “A mixed feeling of dread and reverence.”
Biblically the fear of the Lord is like two sides of a coin. There is the side of fear that includes dread or terror of God. Then there is the side of fear that includes reverence, respect and honor for God.
A scripture that best describes the fear of the Lord in relation to dread or terror is Matthew 10:28 where Jesus says “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
An example of the fear of the Lord which describes reverence and respect of God is Psalms 112:1 which says “Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments.”
Therefore when we fear the Lord we are aware that:
1. There are benefits to respecting, loving and obeying God.
2. At the same time the fear of the Lord reminds us that there are consequences to disobeying or disrespecting Him.
The Fear of the Lord Leads to Hatred of Evil & Wickedness
When we have the fear of God in us, we are restrained from living a wicked or unrighteous life because we are constantly focused on God’s reaction to whatever choices we make in life.
The fear of the Lord also reminds us that there are consequences to bad or wicked choices in life. Proverbs 10:27 says: The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
The fear of the Lord also teaches us to hate evil and to love godliness. Proverbs 8:13 says: The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
So when we understand that God must be revered and honored, we are also reminded that we must always have a humble and obedient attitude in our daily living. We do not serve ourselves, but we serve a mighty and powerful God who is worthy of all honor and praise.
The Fear of the Lord Leads to Knowledge & Wisdom
The fear of the Lord is therefore a lifestyle where we are constantly reminded that God is everywhere and He watches all that we do – including what we do in secret.
The fear of the Lord reminds us that we must constantly be conscious of God’s presence and that we must live according to God’s values and principles.
Therefore when we have the fear of the Lord, we endeavor to view every choice we make in life through the eyes of God. Psalm 25:12 says: Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
The fear of the Lord encourages us to seek the wisdom of God rather than to live by our own understanding. The fear of the Lord motivates us to intimately know what please God rather than to seek the pleasures of the flesh.
Proverbs 9:10 says: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Proverbs 1:7 says: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The Fear of the Lord Attracts God’s Favour & Protection
The fear of the Lord leads to God’s favour, help, and salvation in our life.
Psalm 115:11 says: You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.
Psalm 147:11 says: The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
Proverbs 19:23 says: The fear of the LORD leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.
The Fear of the Lord Leads to Salvation & Righteous Living
Proverbs 15:16 says: Better is a little with the fear of the LORD Than great treasure and turmoil with it.
Malachi 4:2 says “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”
Psalm 85:9 says: Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land.
Ultimately those who fear the Lord will seek Him and seek a genuine relationship with God. The true Christian life cannot be lived without the fear of the Lord and the understanding that God must be revered, respected and honored.