What it Means to Fear the Lord

When I first heard the phrase “fear the Lord” in the earlier days of embracing my Christianity, I was somewhat taken back by it. When you fear something, it generally means that it’s scary or that it poses a danger to you. And I was thinking to myself, God is not scary. God is not dangerous. So, why am I being instructed to fear Him? And then upon reading and studying the Bible, I realized that it goes far deeper than that. To me now, fearing the Lord means a few different things. For starters, to fear Him means that I am in complete and utter awe of His greatness.

Psalm 33:8 says: “Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”

This is such a beautiful thing. Standing in awe of the Lord’s greatness. Feeling His presence and being in complete submission to His holiness. The very last verse of the very last Psalm that was written says: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” ‬‬Meaning, let us all fear the Lord together and stand in reverence to Him. I get chills just writing that.

Fearing the Lord means that you are living your life in a way that obeys His every word. You are always striving to please Him. You devote your life to Him. Even your thinking is aligned with His thinking. You love Him so much that you fear sinning against Him.

And this lifestyle will show you His greatness, and open up so much greatness to you in your life.

1 Chronicles‬ 16:25 says: “For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods.” ‬

Perhaps the greatest thing that fearing the Lord will show you is wisdom. And the more you get to know God, the more you will understand this. Two popular verses that pertain to fearing the Lord and gaining wisdom are:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭


“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs‬ ‭9:10‬

How amazing is it to know that humbling yourself before the Lord makes you wise? Wise in the ways of the Lord, that is. After all, the Lord just wants to make us more like Him. Genesis 1:27 says that we were created in His image to begin with. It’s just up to us to surrender to Him and not let sin get in the way. As stated in the Proverb above, it would be foolish to despise the Lord’s instruction.

In fact, many of the Proverbs talk about fearing the Lord.

Proverbs 2:5-8 reads like this: “Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.”

Proverbs 3:7 tells us: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.”‭

And Proverbs‬ ‭15:33‬ just reiterates what the others have been telling us: “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.”

And if you want to dive even deeper, check out what these other Proverbs tell us about fearing the Lord:

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” Proverbs‬ ‭8:13

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.” Proverbs‬ 14:27‬

Fountain of life? Woah. What a profound statement. If that doesn’t make you crave wanting to be a God-fearing Christian, then I don’t know what will.

Many of the Psalms talk about fearing the Lord as well.

Psalm 2:11 tells us to: “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”

Psalm 19:9 tells us that: “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

And here is one of my favorites: “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” Psalms‬ ‭25:14‬ ‭

Like, what? Thank you, Lord! Hallelujah!

In Psalm 33:8 it says: “Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”

And in Psalm 33:18-19 it says: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.”

And as if you needed another verse proclaiming how wise the righteous are, here you go: “The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice.” Psalm 37:30

And this next verse that I have for you from the Psalms comes along with some commentary from me: “You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth.” Psalms‬ ‭60:4‬

I came across this verse for the first time during my Psalm studies and it really stood out to me. I read it several times in a row and then kept going back to it, wanting to dissect it more. The Lord has given those who fear Him a banner to display. A banner proclaiming the truth about who He is and what He has done for us. We need to fly that banner high in honor of our commitment to Him. I know that I will fly that banner high above my head for all the days of my life.

And yet another Psalm proclaiming this amazing truth: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” Psalms‬ ‭111:10‬

We are so blessed: “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments.” Psalms‬ ‭112:1‬

“Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.” Psalms‬ ‭128:1‬ ‭

And here is what Job has to say about fearing the Lord: “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.’” Job‬ ‭28:28‬

Even Jesus Christ Himself teaches the fear of the Lord to His disciples in Matthew 10. He says to them: “And 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.” Matthew‬ ‭10:28‬ ‭

The conclusion in the book of Ecclesiastes says this: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.”
‭‭‬ ‭

Such powerful words.

Seriously, pray about it. God is always listening and He will respond. The prayers of the righteous are always heard. ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:12-13 even tells us so: “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

So you see, fearing the Lord is a good thing. A wonderful thing actually. It fills us with joy and gratitude, provides us with wisdom and understanding, shields us, guides us, teaches us, and leads us away from sin and to His greatness.

God bless you all.

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