The fear of the LORD is a prominent theme in the book of Proverbs. In fact the word fear in reference to God is mentioned in 69 verses and 298 times in the Bible (King James Version).By definition, to fear someone is to dread or to be terrified by them. It is an unpleasant feeling associated with threat, terror, pain, danger and harm. So what does it mean to fear the LORD?
Defining Fear the Fear of the LORD
- Holy fear: reverence and awe of God, but also a dread of God’s wrath.
- Natural fear: fright, danger and harm
- Sinful fear: a dread of sin and all that is evil.
Based on the above, the fear of the Lord is holy fear. It is to fear for Him out of love and reverence [you can read more on reverence here]. However in its truest sense, the fear of the Lord also comes with the fear of sin. Plainly said, to fear God is to turn our back against sin and all that is contrary to the word Him. It to abide in keep His commandments, all of His ways.
To fear God is to say no to sin and yes to righteousness.
The fear of the Lord is above all fears, and those who have fear for God should be praised. Proverbs 31: 30 says: A woman who fears the Lord should be praised. This means that the fear of God is a quality that we are as followers of Christ should have. Fearing God or to be of reverence and submission is a call for every believer. Proverb 22 verse 23 puts it so well: “Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
As in all things, when God asks something of us, he also gives us the grace to achieve what is required of us. He does not tell us to do something and leave us stranded. No, never! In our human nature and by the flesh, we are completely incapable of loving Him as He requires. But thankfully, Jehovah God is just, He never leaves nor forsakes His beloved. This is why according to Jeremiah 32, He has made an everlasting covenant with us; that He would not turn away from us, to do us good, and to put fear in our heart, that we should not depart us.
On the other hand, fear that is burdensome and brings condemnation is neither of God nor for God. He says: I have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind. Therefore, any fear that does not align with these exact words should be cast away from our hearts. You are a child of God and have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Jesus Christ. And that my friend makes freedom your inheritance. You are free because of Calvary, where the chains of fear were broken when Jesus shouted: “It is finished”. Fear has no place in your life.
God wants us to fear Him, not be fearful of Him.