The absolute necessity of the fear of the Lord
The fear of the LORD
by Patte Smith on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 10:21am ·
is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
~ Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the LORD
is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it
have a good understanding.
~ Psalm 111:10
The fear of the LORD
is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
~ Proverbs 1:7
Happy the soul that has been awed by a view of God's majesty, that has had a vision of God's awful greatness, His ineffable holiness, His perfect righteousness, His irresistible power, His sovereign grace. Does someone say, "But it is only the unsaved, those outside of Christ, who need to fear God"? Then the sufficient answer is that the saved, those who are in Christ, are admonished to work out their own salvation with "fear and trembling." Time was when it was the general custom to speak of a believer as a "God-fearing man." That such an appellation has become nearly extinct only serves to show whither we have drifted. Nevertheless, it still stands written, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him" (Psalm 103:13).
~ AW Pink
From the very beginning human beings have been tempted, and succumbed, to leave the proper and reverential fear of the LORD. The serpent came to the Garden of Eden speaking lies and questioning God's goodness, His command, and His declaration of death as the wages of sin. There is nothing new under the Son.
The 'fear of the LORD' is meant to be the foundation and goal of life. It is true worship and is the only basis for true knowledge and genuine wisdom. This fear is reverent awe of God, Who reveals Himself as Designer, Creator, Sustainer, Ruler and Judge.
Fear of the Lord means living by His reasonable, unburdensome commandments in grateful response to both God's common and redemptive grace.
Thomas Watson describes fear of the LORD as:
... a divine fear, which is the reverencing and adoring of God’s holiness, and the setting of ourselves always under His sacred inspection. The infinite distance between God and us causes this fear.
... “Those who feared the Lord”. The fear of God is the sum of all true true religion. “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13 ). Fear is the leading grace, the first seed which God sows in the heart. When a Christian can say little of faith, and perhaps nothing of assurance, yet he dares not deny that he fears God (Neh. 1:11). God is so great—that the Christian is afraid of displeasing him; and so good—that he is afraid of losing him.
Doctrine: It is an indispensable duty incumbent on Christians, to be fearers of God. “Fear God!” (Eccles. 5:7). “That you may fear the glorious and awesome name of the Lord your God!” (Deut. 28:58). This fear of God, is the very foundation of a saint. One can no more act as a Christian without the fear of God—than he can act as a man without reason. This holy fear is the fixed temper and complexion of the soul; this fear is not servile—but filial. There is a difference between fearing God, and being afraid of God. The godly fear God as a child does his father; the wicked are afraid of God as the prisoner is of the judge! This divine fear will appear admirable if you consider how it is mixed and interwoven with several of the graces.
1. The fear of God is mixed with LOVE (Psalm 145:19, 20)
The chaste spouse fears to displease her husband, because she loves him. There is a necessity that fear and love should be in conjunction. Love is as the sails to make swift the soul’s motion; and fear is as the ballast to keep it steady in true religion. Love will be apt to grow wanton, unless it is counter-balanced with fear.
2. The fear of God is mixed with FAITH.
“By faith Noah, moved with holy fear, prepared an ark” (Hebrews 11:7). When the soul looks either to God’s holiness, or its own sinfulness—it fears. But it is a fear mixed with faith in Christ’s merits; the soul trembles—yet trusts. Like a ship which lies at anchor, though it shakes with the wind, yet it is fixed at anchor. God in great wisdom couples these two graces of faith and fear. Fear preserves seriousness, faith preserves cheerfulness. Fear is as lead to the net—to keep a Christian from floating in presumption; and faith is as cork to the net—to keep him from sinking in despair.
3. The fear of God is mixed with PRUDENCE.
He who fears God has the serpent’s eye in the dove’s head. He foresees and avoids those rocks upon which others run. “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 22:3). Though divine fear does not make a person cowardly—it makes him cautious.
4. The fear of God is mixed with HOPE.
“The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love” (Psalm 33:18). One would think that fear would destroy hope—but it nourishes it. Fear is to hope, as the oil to the lamp—it keeps it burning. The more we fear God’s justice—the more we may hope in His mercy. Indeed, such as have no fear of God do sometimes hope—but it is not “good hope through grace” (2 Thess. 5:26). Sinners pretend to have the “helmet of hope” (1 Thess. 5:8)—but lack the “breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:14).
5. The fear of God is mixed with INDUSTRY.
“Noah, moved with holy fear, prepared an ark” (Hebrews 11:7). There is a carnal fear, which represents God as a severe Judge. This takes the soul off from duty, “I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground” (Matthew 25:25).
But there is also a fear of diligence. A Christian fears—and prays; fears—and repents. Fear quickens industry. The spouse, fearing lest the bridegroom should come before she is dressed, hastens and puts on her jewels, that she may be ready to meet him. Fear causes a watchful eye—and a working hand. Fear banishes sloth out of its diocese. “The greatest labor in true religion,” says holy fear, “is far less than the least pain the damned feel in hell.”
Removing this fear of GOD has always been, and is to this very day, the goal of Satan. The devil's master plan is to assure people that there is no need to fear the LORD and that He will not punish sinners. This suppressing of the fear of the LORD comes in many cloaks and disguises. It is done with the hearty approbation of the world, the flesh, and sadly, the visible church.
Beware! Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. The counterfeit of truth often comes as an angel of light. It is very subtle, religious and flowery as it presents in the modern therapeutic language which has widely infiltrated the church. Christendom is rife with godless, fearless, Christ-less humanism.
If people are being taught that they are to pursue their "best life now", that they have a self-centered 'destiny' to fulfill and a proud 'legacy' to leave, this is often code for religious humanism. Notice how these kind of teachings are bereft of 'fear of the LORD'. They are SELF-centered (or lover-centered or family-centered) rather than Christ-centered. This is the predominant philosophy of pro-life and post-abortion ministries, which have been affected by the man-centered focus of today's churches.
Let us prayerfully read, study and meditate upon the Word of the Lord and His holy commandments and live in humble obedience to Christ. Let us approve of the things He approves of and avoid making conciliations for the sake of pleasing men rather than God, who has the power and authority to cast body and soul into hell. Let us seek to fear Him as we ought that we might be wise unto salvation and lead many to the Savior.