Do you know what it means to have the fear of the Lord? Do you live your everyday life see and reference of the Lord? Do you seek him throughout your day for guidance and instruction. Do you obey his command? Do you seek a relationship with the Lord?
Well after a recent group study of Proverbs, this is what I was able to glean from the scriptures, teachings, and discussion regarding the Fear of the Lord and I wanted to capture it for future reference.
Before this study, I was a little frightened when I heard the words “Fear of the Lord”. Now that I understand more about the awe and reference through wisdom, understanding, obedience, and my relationship and experience with the Lord, I feel differently. I get it! I hope and pray that the words here give you an understanding as well that will help you in your walk with God.
At a very high level it means to know him through our relationship with him, through the lives and testimonies of others, and through His inspired Word enough to revere, respect, and be in awe of God so much that we choose to follow his instructions. (which we find in the Bible).
- To know the Lord we must have a relationship with him.
- Since relationships are built on trust we must first learn to trust the Lord. We do this through growing our knowledge of him through the Word.
- Then we must obey the Lord, which we can not do on our own because we are humans and sinful. The good news is that we have the Holy Spirit to help us with that!
This is what Proverbs says…
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and Knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Prov 1:7) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom, and Knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov 9:10)
When we fear the Lord we will: (this is what the Bible says about it)
- Hate evil – (Prov 8:13) “To fear the lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse speech”
- Have a long fruitful life – (Prov 10:27) “The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short”
- A secure fortress and refuge – (Prov 14:26-27) “He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death”
- Avoid evil – (Prov 16:6) “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil”
- Life with rest and contentment, untouched by trouble – (Prov 19:23) “The fear of the Lord leads to life; Then one rests content, untouched by trouble”
- Wealth, honor, and fruitful life – (Prov 22:4) “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life”
(Conversely) Without the fear of the Lord:
- We deprive ourselves of the treasure of God’s wisdom and knowledge
- We flirt with evil and are vulnerable for corruption
- Our lives will be shortened
- We will not fully comprehend God’s love that gives assurance of salvation
- When fallen to sin we will not be convicted to repent and turn back to God
- We will not be motivated to work out our salvation by making God the Lord of our lives
Wisdom is first a relationship with God plus obedient practice of his instruction.
1. Man’s Relationship with God starts with Knowledge and Trust. Let’s start with Trust
“Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you”. (Prov 22:17-19)
“Trust the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3: 5)
The Big Question — Are you truly trusting the Lord???? Is Jesus the Lord of your life or do you just see him as your Savior? Do you know what you are saying to God when you do not trust him?
- You are telling God that you think your problem and circumstance is too big for Him
- You are disrespecting God with not acknowledging that he knows what is best for you
Who is your teacher, your mentor? You most likely have several. Pastor, Instructor, (people with titles or reputation of being knowledgeable or a good example, someone with wisdom) and you trust them. You spend time with them, right? Are you walking with Jesus every day? Are you talking with the Holy Spirit every day and every hour? When you do these things daily you will grow your trust just like you do with your earthly teachers. You develop trust.
There are two realities necessary if Jesus is to be the Lord of your Life:
- You must trust him
- You must spend time with him….if you are going to be his disciple then you must be with him!
Do you trust him with your marriage, your children, your job, your career, your money, your health, your dreams, and your time? Remember that Jesus teaches knowing the past, present, and future; Jesus teaches from a clear spiritual and physical perspective; Jesus teaches from a place of love.
Have you moved from believing (in your mind) to trusting (knowing in your heart) and deciding to be with him? Or do you have the Devil on your back telling you that you have already trusted him? It’s about a relationship not a religion! Trust Jesus with every decision every day in your life.
2. Let’s grow our Knowledge
Here are a few things the Bible tells us about who God is, why we should trust Him, and his promises about our future and the Holy Spirit.
John 8:58 – “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” You can trust him as he knows the past, the present, and the future.
Hebrews 4:15 – “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin”. Jesus has been tempted just like us and knows our struggles.
Luke 4:18-19 – “Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. He is our helper and healer!
John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Jesus is the way to the Father, the only way, and to know Jesus is to know God.
Luke 6:46, 47 – “Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice” Do you say that you are a believer, that Jesus is your savior, but you are not really following him?
John 14:15-20 – “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live “ Jesus does not desert us, but is always with us.
Acts 1:1-5 – “Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father promised which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit”. Jesus promises the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 28:19-20 – “Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching then to obey everything I have commanded you. And I am surely with you always, to the very end of the age”. We are never alone (note also in this verse the Trinity specified)!
John 15:26 – “When the advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me” The Holy Spirit is our advocate.
John 16:13 – “But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” The Holy Spirit give us direction and instruction.
Romans 14:17 – “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”. The Holy Spirit gives us joy.
Colossians 1:9-11 – “For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. We are the Lords and have been from the beginning of time.
Matthew 18:20 – “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” When we gather through interactions with community, the Lord is with us.
Hebrews 10:24-25 – “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching” When we gather we grow in our knowledge of the Lord and our daily walk with the Lord.
John 15:26 – “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me, And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning” The Holy Spirit is our counselor and will teach us truth.
Matthew 7:13 – “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” The narrow gate is Obedience
3. Obedient practice of his instruction (to flee from sin abruptly as he instructs us to do).
“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:11)
Of course man has an internal belief and philosophy that we can control sin. But we cannot manage sin due to our sinful nature – no matter how hard we try or how much we want to. God tells us that to manage sin abruptly we must cut off our offending hand or pluck out our eye.Here even Paul expresses his struggle with sin. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do”. Romans 7:15
“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better or you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. (Matthew 18:8, 9)
“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the Fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning” (Exodus 20:20)
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace: For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay and again, “the Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”. (Hebrews 10:26-31)
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may be serve God acceptably with reference and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire”. (Hebrews 12:28-29)
We must carry that reverence and awe of the Lord every moment to guide us. We must be mindful at all times. When we know what God has sacrificed for us and we know his instruction but we do not heed, it is not good:
- Do what he instructs us to do and follow him, be obedient.
- Watch out for attraction to other roads – like False prophets (look for where there is fruit — that will help you – where you can see Jesus in people and their words, actions and interactions)!
- Trust only those doing what Jesus taught – lifestyle, think “what would Jesus do” Just do it!
“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16) We know that God has a purpose for each of his children.
Our job is to diligently be on guard at all times. When a person gets off track, God has the ability and power to help you get back on track so you can then be living righteously with the Fear of God (awe and reference) guiding you every day. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through each and every day!
Today, will you seek the Lord and ask him to give you a fresh revelation of his love so that you can progress on your journey of understanding and striving to live with the Fear of the Lord? Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your understanding in this area and take steps to apply your learnings? God bless you!