By Patrick Hawthorne
“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” Oswald Chambers
To fear or not to fear…that is the question? If I were a betting man, I would bet that I could ask ten Christians what it meant to fear the Lord and at least two would not know and eight would give the ole standby response, “Why, to fear the Lord means to give Him reverence, awe, and respect.”
My next question would be, “How? How are we to give reverence, awe, and respect to God?” I dare say that I would hear a lot of crickets chirping and even more hemming and hawing as each person pondered this question. For you none Southern folk, to hem haw means doing a lot of, “Well…hmmm…uhhhh…” It means to be indecisive as you squirm in your chair looking for something of substance to say.
If it makes any difference, I too have struggled with this very issue. For that matter, I still struggle with this issue to some degree. For instance, we are told in the Bible to fear the Lord. Yet, at the same time, we are to approach God with the faith of a little child and call Him “Father.” We are instructed to come boldly before His throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). But, at the same time, we are to serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling (Psalm 2:11.)
“So, Mr. Smarty Pants…Just what does it mean to fear the Lord?”
“Good question. I’m glad you asked. First, let us learn what it is not.
Fearing the Lord does not mean to be afraid of Him. Do you know that even Jesus feared the Lord? It’s true. Look at Isaiah 11: 1-2 (bold/underline mine.)
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
We know that Jesus is not afraid of the Father. Yet, His delight is in the fear of the Lord. So just what is the fear of the Lord? To answer this question, we need only look to Jesus and follow His example.
To fear the Lord means to have such a reverence for our Heavenly Father, for the Being and love of His character, that we exercise our faith in total and uncompromising obedience. It is to have such a love and respect for Him that we would be willing to give our lives for His service.
To truly fear the Lord is to have a deep reverence for Him…such a deep reverence that He comes before anyone or anything else. I believe that Oswald Chambers said it best, “The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”
In my next post, I will take a brief look at the “How” of walking in the fear of the Lord. For the record, I have not attained a total fear of the Lord; not even close. However, I am still running my race towards the finish line. Until next post, be blessed.