Fear of the Lord

The Bible tells us to 'Fear the Lord',  what's more, it tells us:

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.    
    Proverbs 9:10

Christians readily admit and affirm this, but seldom stop long enough to think about what this means. If you say you're going to raise your child in 'the fear of the Lord', the person you say that to might cringe in horror, thinking you must beat your child. To put the fear of God into someone has come to mean to develop fear of authority and therefore fear of the ultimate authority - God. If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, why do we cringe from the mention of it?

Love and Self-Will
We have the ideal in our heads that it's better to serve the Lord out of love than fear. Well isn't it more noble to do what's right because we love God? We should want to do what's pleasing to Him because we love Him, rather than because we're afraid of what He will do to us if we don't. This is an ideal, but unfortunately, we're not like this. Man is self-seeking and a sinner that needs God's grace to be what he should be. Man doesn't want to give up dominance of his own life. Man doesn't like to be a slave. A Christian becomes a slave to God:

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
    1 Corinthians 6:19,20

This verse can naturally be followed up with one such as:

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.     
    Romans 12: 1,2

Die to Self
In devotion to God, man must continually die to his own desires and ambitions. This death to self isn't natural. So then, what about the motivation of love? The only love that's self-sacrificing to the point of death and denial of self is God's love. Man's love is conditional and has limits. It grows weary. The love of God, by which we do what's right, is imparted by grace in the Spirit. To continue in this, we must die to self at every turn. Via this continual death, we see we're always watching to walk above our sinful nature. Realizing our weakness to lapse into sin, we walk with a true fear of God. We don't have vain self-confidence of personal strength, but a trembling before God, realizing His judgment on sin and our proneness to sin and return to sin. This is the fear and trembling referred to in Philippians:

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.       
Philippians 2:12

Boil it down to this: Love is essentially self-sacrifice. Man doesn't tend to self-sacrifice.
An understanding of our own inability to do right forces us to seek God's overcoming. Why should we seek to deny ourselves? The 'Fear of God' is the answer.

Impact in Home Life

6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.    
Deuteronomy 6:6,7

I've seen people who say they believe in God and prefer conservative values, but don't take the time to diligently teach their children about Him. The Bible tells us to talk about God morning, noon and night. He should be the continual meditation of our lives and our family. Unfortunately, that's rare. Business and the affairs of this life dominate our focus.
Look at this standard conservative family I envision:
Children raised up that, in our day and age, are considered to be quite good that the parents should be happy their children turned out so well. The children are even polite. Something serious is missing.
The children, now adults, watch their tongues around people who don't appreciate foul language, but not with others. They respect others beliefs, so watch what they talk about around you, but living a life of fornication isn't such a bad thing to them. What happened to the fear of God in their lives? They were taught in their family that you get along with others and show yourselves friendly and cooperative, but to a good extent you decide your own life. This doesn't have the fear of God. A child is raised in the fear of the Lord by raising him or her in a life revolving around God. That's why God said we're to be talking about Him and His ways morning, noon and night. To meditate on Him and His word gives direction and understanding. To raise our children in the fear of the Lord, there must also be the element of obedience to the Lord in our lives. If we live as hypocrites, our children won't care what we talk about. They'll think it a mockery and won't respect the Lord, seeing we don't consider Him worth respecting.

Educational Foundation
A person raised in the fear of God won't just perform in the sight of certain people, but will seek to do as God says even when alone. Why? The obvious answer is that he knows that even if no one else knows, God does and He will require it. One thing you can know, if a person doesn't do what's right as a matter of life, the fear of God isn't in him. Since 'the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom', that person isn't wise. Taking that a step further, if the fear of the Lord isn't part of our education, the education we receive isn't based in wisdom.

Take the public educational system. Separation of God from education, is separation of wisdom from education. Education that isn't wise can only be one other thing, folly. How can this be with something as simple as woodshop? In all we do in our lives, if the consideration of God doesn't come first, the perspective is warped. Things and activities such as woodworking must always be carried with the perspective that our own pleasures and pursuits, activities and employments must be tempered with the primary pursuit of seeking to glorify God in whatever we do.

An Eternal Perspective
If what we do is apart from God, all we do is vain. Hay and stubble that will be consumed in the day of judgment.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.   
1 Corinthians 3:12,13

9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
    2 Corinthians 5:9-11

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,   
2 Peter 3:11

What will all the labors and possessions be worth in that day? All that will matter will be how we stood before God in whatever we did. All will pass away, but that right heart that was obedient to Him, the mind that dwelt on pure things, the attitudes that were carefully patrolled to conform to His image, that strove to be holy as He is holy and to obey as His Spirit led, this will be what has lasting value.

Please Rate this Page
1 - Poor
5 - Excellent


3 + 4 =
(to prove you're a real human, not a spammer)

Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible

Return To Library