What does it mean to Fear the Lord God?
I have been asking this question for a long time, I really did not understand all of the implications of what it meant to walk in the fear of the Lord, the bible makes reference to it many times, but that did not help my quest in discovering exactly what that meant.
In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy we see that the Lord God gave the Israelites the direct decree to fear him and he also told them why they had to as well.
Deuteronomy 10: 12 –14
- Fear the LORD
- 12. And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
- 13. and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
- 14. To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.
When God told the Isrealites to fear him it was for their own good that they do so. I want to show you that it really is still for our own good that we walk in the fear of the Lord, that we regard the things that He says as holy, to be holy. That we show respect to him for not only who He is to us, but also for what he has done for us.
Unfortunately history has proven that this has been very hard for man to do, to love the lord our God with all of our heart, soul and mind. It has also proven very hard to walk in reverent fear of the lord as well.
The dictionary says that fear, can be a distressing emotion that is aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain. This kind of threat of fear can be real or imagined. Fear can also be a concern for something or someone. Example you could be afraid of cancer, or for someone’s safety.
Then the other kind of fear is to have a reverence for something, because it is regarded Holy. It is a feeling of awe.
The second definition is what we will be discussing here, the feeling of reverence and awe for the creator of the Universe, The Lord God Almighty.
We as christians are told to walk in the fear of the Lord God Almighty. We are to fear Him in a reverential fear, in that we show respect and awe for who He is. The creator of the universe. But there is a certain amount of healthy fear that goes along with this as well.
What is a healthy fear, it is a fear that you feel for someone because of their authority over you.
The reason that we would fear the Lord, is two fold, one, because we are told to in the bible and the other reason is that when we are in a relationship with the Lord and we want to be obedient to him and do all that would please him.
Just as a child would do for a parent, it goes out of it’s way to please a parent, because that child knows that there will be praise, love and acceptance for him in the relationship. It is the very same way for us, we respect and honor God because of our relationship with him.
In the North American society it is hard for us to imagine being under the rule of a Monarch, we don’t get to see all of the pomp and ceremony and respect that the Monarch’s receive, because of their position.
God is the Monarch of our Universe; He is the creator, engineer, maker of all things that for the most part we take for granted. As such, He tells us His children to walk in reverent fear of Him and the principles that He has laid out for us.
In our culture we have adopted an attitude of disrespect for most of everything. Adults have hardly any respect for the people in authority over them, like policemen, bosses etc. They in turn model this disrespect to their children who are excused from respecting their elders as they don’t want to squash their individual rights.
At school, these children have no idea how to show respect to their teachers, peers or themselves. The TV reality shows are full of great examples how respect is not something that is taught in the homes any longer.
The result is that we have a catastrophic turn in our society away from the principles of God.
Now, I say all of this to show you that we have been brought up in a culture that generally lacks respect, both for ourselves and for others, so when God says to us, that we need to respect him, and walk in reverence with him, and to regard the things that He says are Holy as Holy. We struggle with the whole concept of it.
So, how do we as Christian people, learn to walk in reverence and obedience to our loving heavenly father?
The first place to start is in the word of God,
- 12. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
- 13. for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
- 14. Do everything without complaining or arguing,
- 15. so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
- 16. as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
I would like to draw you attention to verse 12, it tells us as christians that we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. What does that mean exactly?
We have a part to play in our christian walk, we are responsible to study the word of God, we are responsible to renew our minds, (change our thinking from death to life). We are to have a reverent fear of God, who He is and what he has done for us.
But if we were to try to do it on our own it would be very hard to do. God in his great mercy sent the Holy Spirit to help us to will and act according the the good purposes of God for our lives.
In the next article we will be looking at the things that God regards as Holy and if regards it as Holy then we need to pay attention to that and regard those things as Holy too. You see when we show respect to the things that God says are holy then we are showing honor and respect to him as well.
We will be exploring more scripture as we discover the truth about having a reverent fear of the Lord God Almighty.
Filed under: Discipleship