The fear of the Lord
In our discussion last week, we said that our modern culture has lost the fear of the Lord and that this has contributed to us living lives that displease God. This is evident in the general lack of respect for authority, the dismissive attitude towards the Word of God, our unbalanced view of God, and our casualness in worship and prayer. But when we cultivate and develop a proper fear (reverential awe, esteem) of the Lord, many benefits will accrue in our lives.
According to the Bible, the fear of the Lord produces certain advantages, so let’s consider some of these benefits.
The fear of the Lord:
a. Produces wisdom – “Fear of the LORD teaches wisdom …” (Proverbs 15:33, NLT). True fear of the Lord is born out of a knowledge of how He is infinitely wise, powerful, majestic, and full of goodness. James 1:5 (NIV) says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Before one can grow in the Lord, he must first learn to fear Him.
b. Motivates people to holiness – “… By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil.” (Proverbs 16:6, NLT). The person who truly reverences and respects the Lord will not want to continue in sin because of their love, respect, and fear of God.
Job is a great example as God Himself testifies about him. “Then the Lord asked Satan, ‘Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless — a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil’.” (Job 1:8, NLT)
c. Lengthens our lives – “Fear of the Lord lengthens one’s life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.” (Proverbs 10:27, NLT). Those who live in the fear of the Lord are more likely to live to a good old age than those who live for worldly satisfaction.
d. Produces confidence, satisfaction and safety – “Fear of the LORD leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm …” (Proverbs 19:23, NLT). We can have tremendous confidence that God is on our side and will never leave nor forsake us. And this confidence helps us to get through any tough or hard times. “… If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31, NLT).
e. Brings great blessings – “Fear of the LORD leads to riches, honour, and long life …” (Proverbs 22:4, NLT). We can rest assured that we can have the greatest possible life any person can ever live. There will be spiritual riches beyond belief (peace, joy, hope, security, the promises of God, the presence of God, etc). There is no better life on this Earth than a life lived in the will of the Lord.
f. Fosters friendship with God – “… The LORD is a friend to those who fear Him. He teaches them His covenant.” (Psalms 25:14, NLT)
g. Brings answers to your prayers – “… He grants the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cries for help and rescues them.” (Psalm 145:19, NLT).
The fear of the Lord is critical to living a fulfilled and rewarding life. The decision to live a life that is ordered around a holy, reverential respect for God is a decision that we must make as individuals. No one can do it for us. So what will your choice be? Let’s choose to fear the Lord and pray like the psalmist David. “Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.” (Psalm 86:11, NIV)
If you want to make a commitment to a life of holy, reverential respect for God, you can do so by accepting Jesus as Lord today. Sincerely say this to God:
Father, I humbly pray to You, knowing that you are God. I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life.
I surrender my life to Him and trust Him as my Saviour and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.