Job 28:28 – “Behold, the fear of the Lord; that is wisdom. . .”
Psalm 19:9 – “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. . .”
Psalm 111:10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. . .”
Proverbs 10: 27 – “The fear of the Lord prolongs days. . .”
Proverbs 14:26 – “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence. . .”
Proverbs 14:27 – “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life. . .”
Proverbs 16:6 – “. . .by fear of the lord one departs from evil.
Proverbs 19:23 – “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction. . .”
I don’t know about you, but these scriptures and the pictures they put in my mind have always been a confusing mess. I was confused because if God loves me, and I could not lose His love, then what do I have to fear?
Then one day I heard that the other meaning for “fear” in these cases is “respect.” That did okay for a little while, but it made no sense to me that if this fear is just another way of saying respect, then why in the newest Bible versions did the word remain unchanged? Would it diminish the meaning?
So I prayed on it, and God showed me a new thing. He asked me to imagine what a person would be like who has no fear.
If a teenager grows up to have no fear, no reverential respect for, his parents, how does this child behave? Is he not stiff-necked and hard hearted, just like how God describes Israel? Does he really care what his mom or dad thinks of him?
Recently I heard a saying that really stuck with me. Rules without Relationship equals Rebellion. Fear of the Lord comes from that Relationship.
Because we LOVE God, and want nothing to hinder our relationship, we fear Him. Isn’t it amazing how the same rebellious teen doesn’t care what his parents think, but often cares tremendously what his friends think? He FEARS his friends. He worries what will hinder their relationship.
Too many times a teenager thinks of his parents as overbearing with a set of rules. It makes you wonder if many even believe that they love their parents, or that their parents love them? When a child loves his parents, he’s afraid to disappoint them, even if he knows he’ll be forgiven.
If we start to feel like God is an overbearing parent, then we need to check our relationship with Him. Remember that Jesus promised that His yoke would be easy and His burden light.
Think back to when you had your first crush in school. You thought so much of the object of your affection, that if he/she’d asked you to carry all his/her books or sports equipment, you’d find the load to be light, I’m sure. If they asked you to help push their car out of the mud, you’d find joy in the work.
Everything that you do for the one you love becomes easy and light. That’s because to please them and have them think positively of you brings on happiness. Conversely, if you did something to make them have negative thoughts of you, or that hurt them, it would break your heart. So you feared them.
Are we afraid to disappoint God? Do we fear a hindrance in our relationship with Him? Or do we fear His wrath coming upon us, like an overbearing parent with too many rules?
The first and greatest commandment is the one that we should remember. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deut 6:5, Matt 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27). If we love Him, then we will fear Him, as well.