The Fear Of God – what is that exactly? Well, a large topic. For further, more in-depth study I recommend visiting Derek Prince Ministries online shop (or a Christian bookstore or online store) and getting some resources. I’d go for something from Derek Prince Ministries because he has God’s anointing and a great gift of teaching and is very clear. One of his focuses is about the Kingdom of God and his ministry has really helped me understand the Bible!
The fear of God is not a human fear, like fearing death or fearing a person. It is not a natural fear. In fact it’s not fear as we know it.
I would define it as a healthy awareness and perspective of the power, majesty, holiness, reverence and awesomeness of God in heaven. It’s like kneeling on the floor in front of the burning bush, nearly fainting at the sight of the God (like Isaiah), like witnessing something from Revelation where the resurrected Christ is shining and burning in his holiness and power. It is about God’s glory. It’s about our holiness.
I’d define it as knowing that we as humans are like blades of grass, here today, gone tomorrow, serving a mighty and powerful God. Yet it’s also about knowing who you are in Christ. It’s not unhealthy or false humility but being humble and at the same time standing on the promises of God in your life. It’s about knowing where the Spirit of God inside you comes from and being ready to allow yourself as a tool in the hand of God.
I’m sure others can put it much better but that’s how I see and feel it.
Yet the fear of God is much misunderstood. As Derek Prince says, once you start looking, you realise that it carries with it extraordinary blessing and promises. So let’s take a look..
Let’s look at some Old and New Testament examples of the fear of the Lord (often translated slightly differently in some translations as ‘respect’ or similar but meaning the same thing)
1. In Genesis 20.11, Abraham talks about the fear of God, thinking no-one had it in the Kingdom of Gerar. Despite his actions in this story, Abraham did have the fear of the Lord.
2. In 2 Samuel 23.3 we see David inspired by the Holy Spirit talking about God honouring rulers who walk in the fear of the Lord.
3. We see in Nehemiah 5.9 that Nehemiah was angry with the people for not helping the poor. ‘Don’t you fear God?’ he asked.
1. In Acts 9.31 we read that the new church grew with the Christians fearing God in the way they lived, being encouraged by the Holy Spirit.
2. Read 2 Corinthians 7.1: ‘..We should try to become holy in the way we live, because we fear God.’
3. Ephesians 5.21 talks of ‘..submitting to one another in the fear of the Lord.’
So this is no alien or Old Testament-only concept. We need to be demonstrating this in our lives through our holiness and the way we live. It’s about evaluating our actions or potential actions in the mental, spiritual and physical worlds, in the light of the reverence and holiness of Christ (in us!)
There is more. Let’s look at Proverbs (especially) to learn more about the consequences of choosing or rejecting the fear of the Lord:
1. Psalm 111.10 is a good place to start. ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ So fear of the Lord is the place to start if you’re seeking wisdom. The other side is that if you search for wisdom, then you will also understand the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 2.1-5)
In Proverbs 15.33 we find that the fear of the Lord and wisdom is tied up directly with humility.
2. Knowledge. Proverbs 1.7 says that ‘knowledge begins with the fear of the Lord.’
3. The rejection of the fear of the Lord (verses 28-29) means that people will call out for God but not find him
4. A consequence of the fear in your own life is that you will hate evil, as the Lord hates evil – and pride & lies (Proverbs 8.13). Again, the importance of humility. See also Proverbs 22.4.
5. The fear of the Lord will prolong the days of your life (Proverbs 10.27). I believe this is both in the physical sense and the spiritual. (You will be given common sense to help yourself prolong life eg health, fitness – and receive a spiritual protection)
6. Proverbs 14.26 and 27 carries this further saying those who fear God will have security, their children will be protected and it will give life.
7. In Proverbs 15.16 we find that it is better to be poor and fear the Lord than it is to be rich and have trouble. See also Proverbs 19.23.
8. You will also be able to avoid, resist (an increased amount of) evil (Proverbs 16.6)
9. We are warned not to envy sinners but to fear the Lord in Proverbs 23.17.
10. In Isaiah 11 we find one of the prophecies about Jesus. Amazingly we find here that the Spirit of God will teach him to know and fear the Lord. So it’s the Spirit that teaches the fear of God (and leads us to truth). If Jesus needed this, how much more do we?!?
11. To conclude, in Isaiah 33.6 we find a summary of what we’ve learned: ‘Fear of the Lord is the greatest treasure.’