“Fear of the Lord” is a phrase that is found over and over again in the Bible. When I read those verses, I tend to replace the word “fear” with the word “respect.” I’m more comfortable with the idea of respecting God than fearing God. However, a closer look at the word shows that while it can include the idea of reverence (when used in relation to God), it really does mean “to fear; to be afraid.” Does God want us to be afraid of Him? I believe the answer to that has to be yes.
Healthy fear brings about our ultimate good. Small children could get hurt crossing the street because they don’t know enough to fear oncoming cars. As they get older, they learn to fear what could happen if they’re not careful, so they cross the street with care. Does that mean they should now shudder every time they cross the street? Of course not.
I want my sons to have a healthy fear of driving in traffic. If they are carefree on the road, they may not be as cautious as they need to be. Does that mean I want them to shudder every time they get behind the wheel? Of course not. But I most certainly want them to fear the consequences of reckless driving. I want that fear to cause them to pay attention to road signs, follow the rules, and mind the speed limit. Why? Because I love them more than anything and want them to arrive alive.
Satan would have us to believe that fearing the Lord involves cowering before a demanding, hard-to-please God. The Bible paints a different picture entirely. The beauty of fearing the Lord is found in the consequences. For the sake of this study, we will focus on how the fear of the Lord brings about our ultimate good.
The Fear of the Lord– Deut. 5:29
Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all my commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!
Circle “fear Me” and underline “that it may be well with them.” Not that fearing God involves keeping all of His commandments. At the end of the verse, write Job 28:28.
And to man He said, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
Circle “fear of the Lord” and underline “wisdom.” Note that the fear of the Lord causes us to “depart from evil.” At the end of the verse, write Psa. 25:14.
The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant.
Circle “fear Him” and underline “secret of the Lord.” In the margin next to “secret,” write “counsel; intimacy.” Some versions read “friendship.” At the end of the verse, write 34:7-14.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them…O fear the Lord, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want…
Circle “fear Him” in verse seven. Circle “fear of the Lord” and “fear Him” in verse nine. Circle “fear of the Lord” in verse 11. Underline “angel of the Lord encamps around” and “rescues them” in verse seven, “no want” in verse nine, “not be in want of any good thing” in verse 10, “life” and “length of days” and “see good” in verse 12. Note that fearing the Lord means to “seek the Lord.” David says, “I will teach you the fear of the Lord,” in verse 11 and then tells us exactly what it involves in verses 13 and 14. At the end of the passage, write 111:10.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.
Circle “fear of the Lord” and underline “beginning of wisdom” and “good understanding.” Note that to fear the Lord means to “do His commandments.” At the end of the verse, write 112:1. Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. Circle “fears the Lord” and underline “how blessed.” Note that one who fears the Lord “greatly delights in His commandments.” Even more blessings are listed throughout the rest of this psalm. I particularly appreciate how fearing the Lord releases us from the fear of “evil tidings” (v. 7,8). At the end of verse one, write 128:1-4.
How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways…Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.
Circle “fears the Lord” in verses one and four. Underline “blessed” in verses one and four. Then underline the specific blessings mentioned: “you will be happy” and “it will be well with you” (v. 2), and fruitful family (v. 3). Note that one who fears the Lord “walks in His ways.” At the end of the passage, write Prov. 1:7.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Circle “fear of the Lord” and underline “beginning of knowledge.” In the margin, write “(see also 9:10).” At the end of the verse, write 10:27.
The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be shortened.
Circle “fear of the Lord” and underline “prolongs life.” At the end of the verse, write 14:26,27.
In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.
Circle both occurrences of “fear of the Lord.” Underline “strong confidence, “refuge,” fountain of life,” and “avoid the snares of death.” At the end of the verse, write 19:23.
The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one my sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.
Circle “fear of the Lord” and underline “life,” “sleep satisfied,” and “untouched by evil.” At the end of the verse, write 22:4.
The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor, and life.
Circle “fear of the Lord.” Draw a squiggly line under “reward” and underline “riches, honor, and life.” At the end of the verse, write 31:30.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Circle “fears the Lord” and underline “shall be praised.”At the end of the verse, write Luke 1:50.
And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him.
Circle “fear Him” and underline “mercy.” At the end of the verse, write Acts 9:31.
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
Circle “fear of the Lord” and underline “the church,” “enjoyed peace, being built up” and “it continued to increase.” At the end of the verse, write 10:35.
But in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.
Circle “fears Him” and underline “welcome to Him.” Note that one who fears God “does what is right.” At the end of the verse, write Rev. 11:18.
…The time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great…
Circle “those who fear Your name” and underline “reward.”
Unite my heart to fear Your name!