02/06/18 - Understanding The Fear Of The Lord
Leader: Pastor Marwin Reeves, Jr.
Christ Community Center, Inc.
Meeting Day(s): 02/06/18
Meeting Time: 7:00 PM
A proper understanding of the fear of the Lord will give the believer a good foundation for all Christian living. However, without proper understanding of the fear of the Lord, the Christian will be prone to err in reverence, honor and respect ultimately frustrating His purpose and your destiny. Let’s begin by taking a look at the words in their original language in order to receive a sound background of their meaning.
The Meaning of Fear
The Hebrew verb Yare (3372) is the most used word for fear in the Old Testament and means to fear; to revere. The Hebrew word Yirah (3374) usually refers to the fear of God and is viewed as a positive quality. This fear acknowledges God’s good intentions (“And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not” Ex. 20:20). This fear is the result of God’s Word (Ps. 119:38; Prov. 2:5) and produces receptivity to wisdom and knowledge (Prov. 1:7; 9:10).
The Greek noun for fear is Phobos and means “reverential fear” of God, “not a mere fear of His power and righteous retribution, but wholesome dread of displeasing Him” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985). This is the kind of fear described by Luke in the book of Acts. “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied” (Acts 9:31).
The fear of God anchors the believer in exemplifying humility which emanates from those that have a true relationship with Christ (Mt. 11:29).
The Purpose of Fear
The fear of the Lord introduces the believer to Genesis (In the beginning God…). This beginning establishes the tone for the entire existence of all living things and gives us clear indication to whom reverence, and honor belong. According to King Solomon, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). The psalmist said; “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do his commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10). King David understood that the fear of the Lord would bring forth results stating how it would “Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Ps. 34:13-14). When we come to understand the fear of the Lord, we will have a healthy fear of the consequences of our disobedience. The fear of the Lord was given as a boundary so that the believer might refrain from disobedience. If we disobey, God has provided a consequence proving sonship which is chastisement, his tool for reassurance. Moses understood this when he said to the children of Israel: “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin” (Ex. 20:20). The absence of godly fear gives a false sense of security in temporary things resulting in the bondage of our own desires. Therefore, the Hebrew writer says; “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). When the believer has reverence for God and His Word, the results lead to life abundant. The psalmist said; “Thou will show me the path of life, in thy presence is the fullness of joy and at your right hand are pleasures forever more” (Ps. 16:11).
Conditions to Having the Fear of the Lord
From the beginning of time, God provided man with the ability to choose. Man’s poor choices in the garden of Eden resulted in all humanity being brought under the penalty of sin. Joshua, Moses’ predecessor, describes choice this way; “Choose ye this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (Josh. 24:15). Every generation has the opportunity to choose to fear the Lord. Solomon said; “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD” (Prov. 1:28-29).
We must be taught the fear of the Lord by the Holy Spirit. The psalmist said; “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD” (Ps. 34:11). The Lord’s promise to his disciples was that he would send the Spirit and the Spirit would lead and guide them into all truth” (Jn. 16:13). Jesus taught his disciples this concept when he taught them how to pray: “Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…” (Mt. 6:9). Being teachable is one of the most important attributes of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, and as a result, this is what he said to those that would follow him. “And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me” (Mt. 10:38).
Because pride is so closely tied to knowledge, it is important to distinguish where one acquired their wisdom. Paul said; “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent” (Isa. 29:14). Therefore, we cannot trust in man’s wisdom. Christ was made for us the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:30). This is the wisdom the believer seeks to be given. If we lack this wisdom, we are to ask of God who gives liberally (Jms. 1: 5). In the meantime, we are cautioned to apply the words of Solomon: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil” (Prov. 3:7).
What the Fear of the Lord will do
The fear of the Lord imparts wisdom (Job 28:28).
God will accept us as pupils/disciples (Ps. 25:12).
God shares his secrets with those that fear Him (Prov. 25:14).
The fear of the Lord produces long life (Prov. 10:27).
The fear of the Lord produces confidence, a refuge for our children, and a fountain of life (Prov. 14:26-27).
Life is the ultimate result for them that fear the Lord (Prov. 19:23).
The fear of the Lord provides permanent satisfaction (Prov. 19:23).
The fear of the Lord combined with humility provides riches, honor, and life (Prov. 22:4).
The Believers Response (Proverbs 2:1-5)
Receive His words, treasure His commands
Incline your ear to wisdom (be teachable), apply your heart to understanding
Cry out for discernment, lift up your voice for understanding (impassioned prayer)
Seek her as silver, search for her as hidden treasure
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God