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  • Writer's pictureJack Selcher

Fear of the LORD

A Bible with the caption "Fear of the LORD The Beginning of Wisdom"

When I was growing up, I feared my father because he punished me for misbehavior. I was afraid of the principals of my schools and a few teachers because they paddled kids. So, how is fearing the LORD like or unlike my childhood fears?

Fear of the LORD goes beyond a mere feeling of awe and respect for Him as we might feel for the President of the United States. It includes an aspect of trembling before a God whom we desperately want to please and who one day will reveal how well we did.

Many don’t tremble before the LORD. They have no desire to please Him. Even after a plague from God, the pharaoh and his officials didn’t fear the LORD (Exodus 9:29–30).

The wicked live by their own rules. They don’t fear the LORD (Psalm 36:1). Sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers, those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners of justice don’t fear the LORD (Malachi 3:5),

We gain additional insight into what it means to fear the LORD from Esther 9:3 (NIV): “And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them.”

These leaders trembled before Mordecai because of his position of authority in the kingdom. They zealously sought his favor. They went all out to please him. Mordecai was a Jew, so they decided to help the Jews. Fear of Mordecai was more than a feeling. It motivated their decision to assist the Jews.

Our behavior reveals whether or not we believe in God. If we do, we act on His character and promises. We likewise demonstrate our fear of the LORD by seeking His favor and doing what pleases Him. We praise, honor, and revere Him (Psalm 22:23, Psalm 135:20).

We live in a God-centered universe. It’s foolish to act like kings and queens in an imagined self-centered one. Both belief in and fear of the LORD significantly shape what we say and do.

People who fear the LORD know God (Isaiah 11:2). They avoid evil (Proverbs 16:6, Job 28:28). They don’t envy sinners (Proverbs 23:17).

They don’t curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind (Leviticus 19:14). They don’t take advantage of each other (Leviticus 25:17).

They walk in obedience to the LORD, love Him, and serve Him with all their heart and soul (Deuteronomy 10:12). They trust Him (Psalm 40:3).

They fear Him above all gods (Psalm 96:4). They revere His glory (Isaiah 59:19). They are zealous for the fear of the LORD (Isaiah 2:10).

Fearing God isn’t automatic. We must learn to fear and obey Him (Deuteronomy 31:12, Psalm 34:11, Ezra 10:3, Psalm 128:1).

We fear Him because His hand is powerful (Joshua 4:24). Because He is great and worthy of praise (1 Chronicles 16:25).

Judges who feared the LORD judged carefully without injustice, partiality, or bribery (2 Chronicles 19:7), They judged others faithfully and wholeheartedly (2 Chronicles 19:9), knowing the LORD would judge them.

Like belief in the LORD, the fear of the LORD brings many benefits. It’s the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10). It’s a fountain of life, turning a people from the snares of death (Proverbs 14:27 NIV). It’s a key to a treasure, a sure foundation for our times, and a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge (Isaiah 33:6).

The LORD remembers those who fear him and honor His name (Malachi 3:16). His Spirit encourages them (Acts 9:31). He adds length to their lives and keeps them safe (Proverbs 10:27, 29:24). His eyes are on them, and they hope in His unfailing love (Psalm 33:18). His angel delivers them (Psalm 34:7). “The payoff for meekness and Fear-of-God is plenty and honor and a satisfying life” (Proverbs 22:4 MSG).

The fear of the LORD is associated with meeting God face-to-face on Judgment Day. “It’s no light thing to know that we’ll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That’s why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God” (2 Corinthians 5:11 MSG).

If we don’t fear the LORD, we’ll usually fear many other things. If we fear the LORD, we don’t have to fear anything else. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources

See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at

God has equipped and empowered me to write His Power for Your Weakness—260 Steps Toward Spiritual Strength. It’s a free devotional discipleship resource. Pastors have used it in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia to lead people to Christ and teach the basics of Christianity to 1,933 people to date. I invite you to check it out.

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