We hear the phrase “fear the Lord” a lot, but what does it really mean? Should we fear God the same way we would fear a murderer or one of the evil characters in a horror movie? The idea of fear and how it relates to God can be a little confusing. Today I would like to take a little closer look at it and see if we can gain a little understanding.
Proverbs 1:7 (NIV)
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The phrase “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” is the cornerstone of the whole book of Proverbs. Fear is actually another word for reverence or worship, suggesting that wisdom begins when we properly acknowledge who God is and offer Him the worship that He deserves. It reminds us that life’s true significance is discovered when we approach God with an attitude of humility and awe, not of dread and fright.
This reminder that we find in Proverbs explains how we can fear God in our daily lives. Whether the topic is wealth, work, marriage, or just about anything else in our lives, we are called to give God the honor due to Him by obeying His will in each of these areas. A wise person will humbly seek God’s perspective on a matter before acting, but a fool will throw caution to the wind and act on his or her own impulses. So what is the result of ignoring God and doing it our own way?
Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)
12 There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.
Wow, that seems pretty clear doesn’t it? The fact is that the only way to life is through Jesus. If we choose to do it ourselves, we simply will not get there and death is the only thing we have to look forward to.
Here are a few other verses from the Bible that also talk about having a fear of the Lord:
Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Job 28:28 (NIV)
28 And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”
Psalm 111:10 (NIV)
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.
God is a loving Father. He loves us more than we can even comprehend, but at the same time, we need to respect His power and might and worship Him and obey Him through our thoughts, words, and by how we live our lives. If we do this, if we worship, obey, and honor Him, then we have nothing to fear either in life or death. Let’s let how we live our lives be the ultimate thank you that we show to God and all He has done for us.