Fear of God

If you read any of the Jewish scriptures, you will see that “the fear of God” is where wisdom, understanding and knowledge begin! In fact, we could argue that the fear of God is a primary theme throughout all of the Scriptures! Take a look:

The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge.

    Stubborn fools despise wisdom and discipline(Proverbs 1:7)

The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom.
    Good sense is shown by everyone who follows God’s guiding principles.
    His praise continues forever (Psalm 111:10).

The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom.
   The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10).

Yahweh is one of a kind.
   Who can make him change his mind?
       He does whatever he wants!
He will carry out his orders concerning me
    as he does with so many other things.
That is why I’m terrified of him.
    When I think of it, I’m afraid of him.
El has discouraged me.
    Shadday has filled me with terror (Job 23:13-16)

Do you see a common thread through these passages? But wait! I know this will mess much of your theology and what you have been taught, but in these “Fear of God” passages, the word “fear” comes from Hebrew words like yir’ah (יִרְאָה) (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; Psalm 2:11; 19:9; 34:11), yare’ (יָרֵא) (Psalm 33:8; 86:11; Jeremiah 5:22; Ecclesiastes 12:13) and pachad (פָּחַד) (Job 23:15). Oh, that’s nice . . . Yes, I know that may be interesting until you understand that they actually mean, “fear,” “terror,” or “dread.” Ouch! Now don’t throw stones at me, but I know for a fact that is not what you were taught

See if you see something unique here:

Don’t you fear me?” asks Yahweh.
    “Don’t you tremble in my presence?
        I made the sand a boundary for the sea,
            a permanent barrier that it cannot cross.
                Although the waves toss continuously,
    they can’t break through.
        Although they roar, they can’t cross it (Jeremiah 5:22).

Serve Yahweh with fear, and rejoice with trembling (Psalm 2:11).

The fear of Yahweh is pure.
    It endures forever.
    The decisions of Yahweh are true.
    They are completely fair (Psalm 19:9).

Let all the earth fear Yahweh.
    Let all who live in the world stand in awe of him (Psalm 33:8).

Come, children, listen to me.
    I will teach you the fear of Yahweh (Psalm 34:11).

Teach me your way, O Yahweh,
    so that I may live in your truth.
    Focus my heart on fearing you (Psalm 86:11).

After having heard it all, this is the conclusion: Fear Elohim, and keep his commands, because this applies to everyone (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

You see, because it doesn’t fit their view of things (and many of you won’t buy their books and tapes), many teachers downplay the “fear of God,” and use words like “respect,” “reverence,” or “honor.” Even the Amplified Version often renders it as, “reverent and worshipful.” But the Hebrew language is pretty clear on this. Yes, I understand that there are Hebrew words that give a softer meaning, like, kabad (כָּבוֺד). You find that in Exodus 20:12, where it says that you are to “Honor your father and your mother . . .” Or in Proverbs 3:9, where it tells us to to “Honor the LORD with your wealth . . .”

Now something that may soften the blow a little is to understand that the fear of God, is actually, the beginning of understanding! As Paul Harvey used to tell us: “Now you know the r-e-e-e-s-t of the story!” You do? Yes! You have heard it many times, already. In fact, the great news is that the Love of God that comes through Jesus Christ in the New Testament scriptures has the power to cast out this fear and set us free!

No fear exists where his love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn’t have perfect love” (I John 4:18).

“Dear friends, we must love each other” Why? “because love comes from God!” Oh! “Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love doesn’t know God,” Why? “because God is love. God has shown us his love by sending his only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us” (I John 4:7-12).

“Christ died for us while we were still sinners. This demonstrates God’s love for us” (Romans 5:8).

“Love each other as I have loved you. This is what I’m commanding you to do. The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends” (Jesus said to His disciples in John 15:12-13).

Friends, the Fear of God is relieved, erased and resolved by the Love of God! How can we comprehend the utterly Great News of Jesus Christ if we don’t first appreciate the fear of God? Without total awe, wonder, terror, dread, reverence, and respect for a perfectly Holy, Righteous, and just Creator, we will never appreciate what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did for us on Calvary’s cross!

It ultimately comes down to our perspective and position. Before you surrender to His rule and command, you should be terrified of Him. Once you gaze on His nature, power, and justice, you will tremble! Who are any of us and what is our human position when we compare it to this Almighty God? He is indeed Awesome and All Powerful! Before we are united to this God of Righteousness, and He stands in all of His Majesty, we cannot face him.

However, once we understand and accept the entire story of our Redemption and Deliverance, we can walk out our lives in a special appreciation of both truths — the “Fear of God” and the “Love of God,” and how both are able to co-exist.

Those who fear Yahweh should say,
            “His mercy endures forever (Psalm 118:4).

Yahweh is pleased with those who fear him,
    with those who wait with hope for his mercy (Psalm 147:11).

The angel said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the time has come for him to judge. Worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs (Revelation 14:7).

That my dear friends, you will never experience until you surrender to the Redemption that is available to you, but only through Jesus the Christ!

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your generous gifts.
It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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