Why should I fear God?
After the Lord gave Moses the tablets with the ‘Ten Commandments,’ he told Israel what have been referred to as the ‘Essence of the Law.’ More so it was a ‘requirement of the Lord God.’ Moses said to his people, “Hear Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes …for you good (Deut. 10:12-13).”
And one of the wisest persons ever to live taught us the duty of mankind. The Preacher said, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s duty; for God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil (Eccl. 12:13-14).” As John says, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before the throne of God, and books were opened… and the dead were judged according to their works… and anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15).”
Thus the Apostle Paul says, “…Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living… For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess (testify an oath – a solemn promise and affirmation of the truth) to God (Isa. 45:23) that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:11).’ So then each of us shall give account of themselves to God (Rom. 14:9-12).”
|Strong’s Concordance, Brown-Driver-Briggs and Thayers’ Lexicon; Fear: Hebrew – yirah, meaning: fear, terror, great fear, reverence, dreadful. Origin of the word: Hebrew – yare, meaning: afraid, fearful, fearing, morally, reverent. Fear of God: Greek – theosebeia, meaning: reverence for God, fear of God, piety… from theosebes: devoutness. Fear: Greek – phobos, meaning: fear, dread, terror, panic flight, causing of fear, fleeing because feeling inadequate, withdraw, separate from, i.e. flee (remove oneself) to avoid dread or fright. From phebomai – to be put to flight, fear, terror, fearful, respect, reverence, sense of awe.|
Some in their theology limit or quench the definition to one thing – reverence; and others say that the fear of the Lord is one thing to one class of people and another to a different class – ‘those who deny Him dread’ and are afraid; yet, ‘those who proclaim Him revere what they know’ of Him. Yet, those who deny or do not know Him, more often ignore or mock and have become blind to Him.
God cannot be confined to only one thing – attribute – ‘love’ or ‘terror;’ ‘mercy’ or ‘just judge.’ See: NAMES of GOD & Why they are Important in particular the ‘longest known name of God’ from Exodus 34:6-7. Though the judgments differ, the Lord God does not change (Mal. 3:6), His name and attributes or ways remain constant, “for the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords; a great God, a mighty and awesome (KJV: a mighty and a terrible – terror), who shows no partiality (KJV: which regardeth not persons) and takes no bribes (Deut. 10:17).”
God is love, and love can cast out fear and His Spirit can bring the peace that surpasses all human understanding; however, the Lord deserves, desires and requires love, reverence and fear from us. The prophet Samuel said, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22).” And thought the Lord sincerely wants all to obey Him, for even as Paul and Peter said, ‘He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus (2 Thes. 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17);’ the ultimate form of worship comes only with true love – to desire with all our heart to praise and bow with a devout and holy (righteous and humble) love.
The ‘fear of the Lord God’ is so important to Christ and His apostles that it is specifically referenced at least 144 times in the New Testament. And to ‘fear God,’ ‘the fear of God’ or references to ‘the fear of the Lord’ occurs at least 280 times in the bible.
The ‘fear of the Lord’ is vitally important because without it we will not have eternal life in heaven. There is likely no theme more repeated in the Old Testament than to ‘fear the Lord God.’ We are told ‘without holiness, one shall not see (God) the Lord (Heb. 12:14).’ All mankind will stand before the Lord and bow. The meaning here is that they will either see Him and perish because they can’t not look upon His face (Exo. 33:20) and live in the state of condemnation without the blood of Christ (Heb. 10:26; Rev. 22:4); or they with be unable to look at Him in their shame (‘contempt;’ Dan. 12:1-2) – yet, the consequence of judgment will be the same. But ‘the fear of the Lord is holy (Psa. 18:10)’ and ‘is a fountain of life (Pro. 14:27).’
For decades Deut. 10:12-13 and Eccl12:13 (which is part of my email address sense founding of AOL) have been among my favorite verses, because nearly every theme in the Holy Scriptures relate to them.
What is the Fear of the Lord?
Job, was a ‘man blameless and upright (righteous), and one who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1),’ such that Ezekiel put ‘Noah, Daniel and Job’ upon a class of their own in ‘righteousness.’ And Job taught us that the Spirit of ‘Wisdom’ declares ‘to mankind,’ “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding (Job 28:28).”
The ‘fear of the Lord’ comes from ‘the Spirit of the Lord’ and Isaiah tells us that it is a spirit (Isa. 11:2) and it – ‘the fear of the Lord hates evil (Prov. 8:13).’
The ‘fear of the Lord is confidence of strength (Prov. 14:6)’ and Isaiah also in that same verse spoke of the ‘spirit of might.’
‘The fear of the Lord is unto life (Prov. 19:23, 14:27).’
‘The fruit of humility is the fear of the Lord (Prov. 22:4),’ and next to Deut. 10:12, there is perhaps only one other verse that says, ‘what does the Lord require of you?’ To which the prophet Micah says, “To act justly (to do what is right – see Gen. 4:7) and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).”
|The book of Sirach (1:9-20) or Ecclesiasticus (which appeared as ‘Apocrypha’ in the 1611 King James Bible; and in the Catholic ‘Latin Vulgate’ under the ‘Wisdom books’) states, “One only is wise; terrible indeed, seated on his throne, the Lord. It was He who created (wisdom) and then poured her out on all his works… bestowing her on those who love Him. The fear of the Lord is glory and pride, happiness, and a crown of joyfulness. The fear of the Lord gladdens the heart, giving happiness, joy and long life. Those who fear the Lord, all will end well: on their dying day they will be blessed. The basis of wisdom is to fear the Lord… The fullness of wisdom is to fear the Lord; she intoxicates them with her fruits; she fills their entire house with treasures and their storerooms with her produce. The crown of wisdom is to fear the Lord: she makes peace and health flourish. The Lord has seen and assessed her, He has showered down knowledge and intelligence; He has exalted the renown of those who possess her. The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord, and her branches are long life…”|
Thus the ‘fear of the Lord’ has spiritual and physical benefits. ‘The eyes of the Lord are on them that fear Him; and on them that hope in His mercy (Psa. 32:18).’ ‘The angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear Him (Psa. 33:8).’ To some of His the Lord protects with His angels, and to some He allows to death the first death of the body, but ‘shall deliver them’ into eternal life.
Thus, ‘the mercy of the Lord is forever upon them that fear Him (Psa. 102:17).’
What do our examples teach us about this subject?
In the fear of the Lord, in the presence of the Lord, Moses ‘made haste to bow his head to the ground and worshiped (Exo. 34:8).’
Those before the throne of God in heaven fall down and worship Him (Rev. 5:8; 8:4).
“I bow down and worship the Lord, I praise the Lord, the God of Abraham (Abraham’s servant; Gen. 24:48).”
Seeking the Lord, Elijah ‘bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees (1 Kings 18:42).’
“So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped (Exo. 4:31).” Likewise, they ‘bowed low and worshiped’ God during the Passover (Exo.12).
“David said to all the assembly, “Now bless the LORD your God.” And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed low and did homage to the LORD and to the king (1 Chron. 29:20).”
When the prophet saw a vision of the ‘seraphim’ worshiping and crying unto God continually, ‘Holy, holy, holy (some translations 9 times) is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’ Isaiah said, ‘Woe is me, for I am undone (ruined; Isa. 6:5)!’ ‘I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’
Exodus 19:18 shows us that even the mountain itself was shaking because of God’s presence.
See: https://thetruthsource.org/2016/05/13/worship-him/ for more examples, including Job, who ‘fell to ground and worshiped God’ saying, ‘…the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ And Joshua, who ‘fell on his face to the earth and worshiped’ God, saying ‘What does my Lord say to His servant (Josh. 5:14)?’ And David, Solomon and all the elders knew how to ‘kneel’ and lift their hands before the Lord. And of course Daniel, the wise men and shepherds, Peter, James, John, Paul and all those who followed the example and teachings of Jesus Christ, who at Gethsemane before going to the cross, ‘fell with his face to the ground and prayed… (Matt. 26:39).’
Fear not man or destruction from demons, fear only God
It is said that 365 times the bible says ‘fear not.’ But here we are taught the through faith in God and with His holy spirit, not to fear man or to allow the spirit of fear and anxiety to rule over us (see: DEPRESSION: Disease, Disorder, Choice and or spirit). For the Lord Jesus Christ said, “…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28).” And a few verses later Christ added, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
As Job said, “He stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me (Job 23:13-16).”
“Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord; ‘Should you not tremble in my presence (Jer. 5:22)’?” ‘Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling (Psa. 2:11).’ ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).’
Thus, Jude says, ‘save some through love and mercy and save others by snatching them from the fire; show them mercy, mixed with fear… (22, 23).’
Conclusion of the matter: Fear God (Eccl. 12:13)
Oh dear souls, don’t you know, ‘the Lord your GOD is a consuming fire, a jealous God (Deut. 4:24),’ ‘you shall not follow other gods… the LORD your God… is a jealous God and His anger will burn against you, and He will destroy you… (Deut. 6:15).’ He has loved us so much that He has provided His only Son our Lord Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for sins, by he who continually ‘sins willfully’ shall not be ‘covered by the blood of Jesus (Heb. 10:26).’ Let us ‘show proper respect to everyone… (but more so let us) fear God (1 Pet. 2:17).’ The Lord God requires us to ‘worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).’ ‘If we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us… He has given us His Spirit… If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them… and there is no fear in love; but perfect love cast out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:12-).’
But let us also listen to Peter, “…If God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell… until judgment; if He did not spare the ancient world when He brought the flood on its ungodly people, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, among the eight… if He condemned Sodom and Gomorrah… reducing them to ashes as an example of what is coming on the ungodly… and if He rescued Lot, a righteous man… then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment… dear friends… recall the words spoken by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles… in the last days scoffers will come, following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘where is the coming of Jesus, promised?’ …but they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed… yet, by the same word… the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly (will come)… With the Lord a day is like a thousand years… but the day of the Lord will come… You ought to live holy and godly lives… grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen (2 Peter chapters 2 and 3).”