Who should we fear?

Posted on August 16, 2009

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Matthew 10:28 (NKJV)

“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.”

The phrases “fear of God” and “fear of the Lord” are used 35 times in the Bible. The words fear and God appear in the same verse 98 times, and the words fear and Lord appear in the same verse 145 times. Just by the sheer number of references, it is clear to see that fear is an important part of our relationship with God. Unfortunately, the “fear of God” is rarely talked about anymore.

The word [fear] has been redefined to fit our modern culture, so as not to offend anyone. The interesting thing, is that in both the Hebrew and Greek, the primary meaning of the root word for fear is ALWAYS fear. Yet, in many (not all) of the modern translations, many of the occurrences of the word “fear” have been replaced with “awe” or “reverence.” While these are, in part, legitimate translations of the word, they only represent a half truth. They are simply the by-product of an attitude of fear. Even many expository dictionaries have jumped on the politically correct bandwagon. It is always best to go straight to the original language for the definition of the word in question.

There is nothing wrong with a fear of God, in fact it is healthy. It’s much the same as when you did something wrong as a child, you feared your parents. That doesn’t mean that you didn’t love them. It means that you acknowledge their authority and their ability to punish you for what you had done. This fear is the cornerstone of awe and reverence and respect. Without fear, the other three wouldn’t exist.

The Bible tells us a couple of ways in which a fear of God is beneficial to us.

1) Fear is a motivator for obedience.

NKJ Deuteronomy 8:5

“You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you.”

NKJ Leviticus 19:14

‘You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD.

NKJ Leviticus 25:17

‘Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the LORD your God.

NKJ Proverbs 16:6

In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.

NKJ 2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

2) The fear of God brings wisdom and knowledge.

NKJ Job 28:28

And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’ “

NKJ Psalm 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.

NKJ Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

NKJ Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

NKJ Proverbs 15:33

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.

The fear of God is a good thing and a healthy thing. It is beneficial to us, and it is an attitude that we must cultivate in our daily lives. The church needs to get off of the politically correct, I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings bandwagon, and get back to preaching the uncompromised truth of God’s Word.

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