By Dr. Peter Hammond, 08/12/22
“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
When something is repeated in Scripture it emphasizes its importance. Loving God, His Name, His Law and His Word is mentioned 88 times in the Bible. Trusting God and His Word occurs 91 times. There are 278 references to fearing God in the Bible. “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12
The Fear of God is mentioned more times than any other aspect of devotion. The reverential awe, respect and fear of God must be the fundamental attitude of our Faith. Any view of God which does not lead us to fear God and obey His Law cannot be a Biblical view. “Great and marvelous are Your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are Your ways, King of the ages. ‘Who will not fear You, 0 Lord and bring glory to Your Name? You alone are Holy. All nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.” Revelation 15:2-4
Fear God Alone
The official history book of the Reconnaissance Commando is entitled: “We Fear Naught But God.” The theme of the sermon by Jonathan Edwards, which launched the Great Evangelical Awakening was “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God.” Mary Slessor was converted to Christ by an old woman who warned her of the terrors of the Day of Judgement and the flames of hell. Mary dedicated her life to saving lost souls, first in Aberdeen in Scotland, then in Calabar, Nigeria. How could Professor Martin Luther have the courage to defy the pope and emperor? Luther feared God, so he was freed from the fear of man.
Worship God Alone
In the Psalms, the prayer book and song book of the Bible, the Fear of the Lord is declared to be the highest expression of worship – 62 times! “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love.” Psalm 33:18
Protection and Deliverance
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and He delivers them… Fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing.” Psalm 34:7-8
The Love of God
“For as high as the Heavens are above the earth so great is His love for those who fear Him… But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him and His righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep His Covenant and remember to obey His precepts.” Psalm l03:11, 17-18
The Foundation of Wisdom and Understanding
“He provides food for those who fear Him… He remembers His Covenant forever… the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding.” Psalm 111:5, 10
Blessings and Prosperity Come to Those Who Fear God
“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor-blessings and prosperity will be yours.” Psalm 128:1-2
Forgiveness of Sins
“…if You, O Lord, kept a record of sin, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, therefore You are feared.” Psalm 130:2-4
A Fountain of Wisdom, Knowledge, Discretion and Virtue
In the Proverbs, the Fear of the Lord is referred to 15 times as being the source of wisdom, knowledge, discretion, truthfulness and morality. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7
Those Who Fear God Love Knowledge and Accept Rebuke
“Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept My advice and spurned My rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways …for the waywardness of the simple will kill them and the complacency of fools will destroy them”. Proverbs 1:29-32
Wisdom Comes From the Word of God
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” Proverbs 3:7
To Fear the Lord is To Hate Evil Behavior, Pride and Perverse Speech
“To fear the Lord is to hate evil, I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Proverbs 8:13
“The fear of the Lord adds length to life.” Proverbs 10:27
A God Honoring Life
“He whose walk is upright fears the Lord, but he whose ways are devious despises Him.” Proverbs 14:2
Courage to Oppose Evil
“A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil…” Proverbs 14:16
A Mighty Fortress is our God
“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for His children it will be a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:27-27
Protection from Evil
“Through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.” Proverbs 16:6
“The fear of the Lord leads to life.” Proverbs 19:23
“Always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.” Proverbs 23:17
A New Heart
The New Covenant provides redeemed men and women with a new heart to fear God – for their own good and for the good of their descendants. “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant… I will put My Law in their minds and write it on their hearts… I will be their God and they will be My people.” Jeremiah 31:31,33
Perseverance of the Saints
“They will be My people and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear Me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting Covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them and I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me.” Jeremiah 32:38-40
Those Who Fear the Lord Hate Evil
We should fear God because He is Sovereign. “The Lord reigns… let those who love the Lord hate evil.” Psalm 17:1, 10.
The Lord is the King of all Kings
“The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; He sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. Great is the Lord… He Lord ‘is exalted over the nations,” Psalm 99:1-2. God is great and awesome. We should fear God because of who He is: our Creator, Sovereign Lord and Eternal Judge. He is the One who decides whether we live and when we die. He is a Holy and jealous God (Deuteronomy 5:9-10; 6:13-15). He is righteous and just (2 Chronicles 19:6-9).
Do Not Fear Man – Fear God Alone
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” Matthew 10:28
Liberating, Inspiring and Empowering
The fear of man will prove to be a snare. The fear of God is liberating.
The fear of God will enable us to stand firm when others are falling back.
The fear of God will enable us to stand up when others remain seated.
The fear of God will empower us to step out in Faith when others draw back in fear.
The fear of God will empower us to fight the good fight of Faith when others surrender.
Respect God with Reverent Awe
We need to teach our children to fear the Lord (Psalm 34:1). To fear the Lord will involve keeping “your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:13-14). We need to teach respect for the Name of God, for His Church and for His Word – the Bible. “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous…” Psalm 19:9
Understanding Aspects of the Fear of God
The Old Testament uses eight different Hebrew words and one Aramaic word to describe the Fear of God: Standing in awe of God (Psalm 22:23; 33:8); Trembling before God (1 Chronicles 16:30; Psalm 96:9; 114:7); Being filled with dread (Psalm 89:7; Isaiah 8:13; Hebrews 12:39); Living in fearful apprehension of judgement (Deuteronomy 28:66; 2 Chronicles 10:29); Frightened (Exodus 15:16; 23:27); The Terror of the Lord (Daniel 6:26); The Fear of God (Exodus 3:6; Psalm 119:120); Terror and horror (Deuteronomy 9:19); and Worship with trembling (Psalm 2:11).
The Wrath of the Lamb
The New Testament speaks of “the wrath of the Lamb”,” the terror of the Lord”, “reverence” and “fear”. “And the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty… hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him ‘Who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come and who can stand?'” Revelation 6:15-17
A Motive for Evangelism
“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men …” 2 Corinthians 5:11
Incentive to Choose Wisely
“His mercy extends to those who fear Him and do what is right.” Acts 10:35
God Accepts Those Who Fear Him
“…now realize …that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.” Acts 10:34-35
God Will Consume His Enemies
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” Hebrews 10:26-27
Our God is a Consuming Fire
“Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29
God Will Judge Each One’s Work
“Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear“ 1 Peter 1:17
Give God the Honour Due to Him
“Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honour the king.” 1 Peter 2:17
The Essential Foundation for Freedom and Justice
If we do not fear the wrath of God, then we will not appreciate the love of God. Only the Fear of God can produce lasting justice and righteousness in individuals, families, churches and nations. Only to the degree that people fear God and obey His commandments can society function for the good and freedom of all its people. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” Psalm 33:12
Set Free to Serve God
Until we learn to fear God, we will be enslaved to the fear of man. People-pleasers make traitors. We need to please God and be freed from the fear of man. The first time our Lord came as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The next time – He will not come as a Lamb. He will come as the Lion and He will destroy His enemies.
“…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“…submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
“…we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37