The Fear Of The LORD

By A. M. Behnam

What Does It Mean?
The “fear of the Lord” means a deep reverence of God that leads to hatred of evil and to the practice of unwavering obedience to Him. It is a result of an appreciation of His greatness, of His omnipotence [all powerful] and omniscience [all knowing], as well as of His love that surpasses human comprehension.

It is not being frightened of Him and wishing to hide from Him, as Adam when he disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. That fear was a torturing fear – one that led Adam to try to hide from God, so when God called him, he said to the LORD God: “I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Gen. 3:10 KJV, italics mine). There is a fear, or rather a fright, that makes a person want to hide from God, hoping that God will not see him. This fear will lead people in a coming day to say to the mountains, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16).

The fear of the Lord is always associated with love to the Lord, a love that makes obedience a joy and not a burden. This love casts away the wrong kind of fear (1 Jn. 4:18). Promised Blessings Of The Fear Of The Lord
The fear of the Lord has many precious results for the believer. We will refer to a few of them.

Wisdom: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10). “And unto man He [God] said, Behold the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28). Stability and Treasure: “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure” (Isa. 33:6). Intimate Knowledge: “The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant” (Ps. 25:14 NASB). Consider the examples of Joseph and Daniel. Confidence and Protection: “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have refuge” (Prov. 14:26). Mercy from the Lord: “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children’s children” (Ps. 103:17 KJV).

Its Effect In Daily Life
The fear of the Lord affects our behavior in every aspect of our lives. For example, it will make us say the truth without adding, exaggerating or modifying. It will prevent us from saying or hinting anything that touches the reputation of another who may have hurt our feelings. The fear of the Lord delivers us from the fear of man, selfishness, pride, immorality … and the list goes on and on.

Three Remarkable Examples
1. Abraham has been called the father of the faithful. We read: “By faith Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:8-10).

After that, Abraham went through a severe trial of his faith when God called and said to him, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Gen. 22:2). Abraham went as he was told. He built an altar and laid the wood in order before he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar upon the wood. “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham … lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou has not withheld thy son from Me” (vv.10-12). Abraham knew that obedience to God is the safest and most blessed way – this is the fear of God. Because he was strong in faith he knew the LORD would fulfill His promise that in Isaac would his “seed be called” (21:12).

2. Joseph demonstrated his fear of the LORD both when he was a slave in his master’s house and when he was an influential ruler in Egypt. In the first instance the fear of the LORD gave him victory over the temptation by his master’s wife, who tried to seduce him to commit adultery with her. His answer was “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (See Genesis 39:7-9).

Later, when he became a ruler in Egypt and his brothers, except Benjamin, came to buy wheat, they did not recognize him, but he recognized them. In their defense against the accusation of being spies they mentioned that they had a younger brother at home. Joseph, whose heart was yearning to see his brother Benjamin, told them that he would believe them only if they brought their younger brother. He decided to let one of them go back with the wheat they bought and to bring their youngest brother. The other ten would be kept in prison until the youngest brother was brought to Egypt, or else they would be considered as spies. “And he put them all together into ward [prison] three days. And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do and live; for I fear God” (Gen. 42:17-18). He then decided to keep only one in prison and let the other ten go home, because he had the fear of the LORD. The fear of the LORD delivered him from being harsh even to those who did not show any mercy to him.

3. Nehemiah. Please read Nehemiah 5:14-19. It was Nehemiah’s privilege by the Persian Emperor’s authority to have financial rewards (called “bread of the governor”) in addition to “forty shekels of silver,” like the rulers that were before him. But Nehemiah did not do that “because of the fear of God” (v.15). The fear of the Lord protects us from the love of money and makes us more sensitive to the needs of others.

Abraham, Joseph, Nehemiah and innumerable other children of God testify to the fact that the safest and most blessed road is the fear of the Lord! “Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in His commandments” (Ps. 112:1).

Author: Sebastien

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