The Fear of The Lord

Posted: May 11, 2016 in Blog, Pastor's Corner
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Fear is a funny thing. Jumping out of planes and off of cliffs, for a fearful thrill, only to land safely with a parachute is kinda odd. Fear is also sold in movies and during certain times of the year it is the pinnacle form of entertainment. Even so, fear is a mysterious thing that humans are attracted to, but at the same timefear safely seek to avoid it if at all possible.

We then come to a phrase highly common among religious folk, ‘The fear of the Lord,’ which is a phrase few people write about, and even less understand. A friend, who is an avid bookstore-dweller, jokingly quips that a book store titled, “Fearful: Teaching The Fear of The Lord, positively wouldn’t be a NewYork Times bestseller.

Honestly, I’m not sure how well I truly understand ‘the fear of the Lord’. The Scriptures teach that the fear of the Lord is a good thing. Yet it is hard to think of fear as good. Most often the concept of the biblical fear of the Lord is diminished by making it less than what we read. In Hebrews 10:31, where we read that, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Or again in Hebrews 4:1, we read the command to fear is part of being recipients of the promise of God, lest we should fail to attain it. Those passages seem to make ‘the fear of the Lord’ a rather enigmatic statement.

Godly and biblical fear is not the same thing as terror and shaking in our boots. Psalm 19:9, teaches, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever…” Psalm 34:11, teaches that the fear of the Lord is something to be learned, “Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Genesis 15:1, teaches that there is a manner that we aren’t to fear, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

John Piper writes with clarity on this matter, “‘The fear of the Lord,’ is a very peaceful and secure feeling. In fact, fearing the Lord means counting on our fellowship with God to make us happier in the future than anything else could. Romans 15:4 says that the whole Bible was written to persuade us that this is true: Staying close to God and not running away into sin is the most hope-full way to live. Promise after promise verifies it: “the friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him” (Psalm 25:14). “How abundant is your goodness which you have laid up for those who fear you” (Psalm 31:19). “The eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love” (Psalm 33:18). “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). “As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him” (Psalm 103:11, 17). “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13). “He fulfills the desire of all who fear him” (Psalm 145:19).”

All in all it would do the follower of Christ well to meditate upon the fear of the Lord, upon what it means, and how it might become engrained into the essence of our personhood. It might also do us well to understand the mysterious reality of fear in the heart of humanity and how it is a large part of how man relates to God.

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