“Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.”
Psalms 112:1 KJV
One biblical phrase that has troubled many people is the command to fear God. What does “fear of the Lord” mean, and why does the Bible tell us to fear God? What does it mean to fear the Lord?
When the Bible refers to the “fear of the Lord,” it means having a deep respect, reverence and awe for God’s power and authority. Rather than causing someone to be afraid of God, “fear of the Lord” leads one to love Him.
The Hebrew verb yare can mean “to fear, to respect, to reverence” and the Hebrew noun yirah “usually refers to the fear of God and is viewed as a positive quality. This fear acknowledges God’s good intentions (Exodus 20:20). … This fear is produced by God’s Word (Psalm 119:38; Proverbs 2:5) and makes a person receptive to wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10)” (Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament, 2003, pp. 470-471).
So, rather than a paralyzing terror, the positive fear of the Lord taught in the Bible is a key element in change. It helps us to have a proper, humble perspective of ourselves in relation to our awesome God; it helps us in times of temptation when we need to remember the serious consequences of disobeying God; and it motivates us to become more like our loving Creator.
Life Application: Examine your actions over the last year to determine if you are exhibiting reverential fear of the Lord.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to understand what it means to fear you. Help me to reverence and honour you in all that I do and say. In Jesus name, amen.