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Walking in the Fear of the Lord

Last week we started a series called Facing Fear. It is a Bible study on fear and faith, (click for whole series) and this week we’re learning about an interesting aspect of a right relationship with fear – the Fear of the Lord. We want to know, what IS the fear of the Lord, why is it important to fear God, and what does walking in the fear of the Lord look like? Most importantly for the sake of this study, we want to understand the connection between fearing God, and living a life free from all other fear,

Proverbs 2: 2-6 – Tune your ear to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Read all of Proverbs 2.)

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What is the Fear of the Lord?

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgement. Proverbs 9:10

Proverbs 8:13 says to fear the Lord is to hate evil, and Proverbs 14:2 says that those who follow a right path fear the Lord, but those who take the wrong one despise Him.

If we compile and study all the verses that talk about the fear of the Lord, (click here to download a printout of some of them) we come away understanding that it is seeing God for who He actually is and holding Him in such high esteem that we take VERY seriously what He has said, and therefore, live in obedience to it.

To fear the Lord is to see God for who He actually is, put Him in His right place, and hold Him in such high esteem that we take very seriously what He has said and therefore live in obedience to it. Click To Tweet

Walking in the the fear of the Lord means we’re keeping Him in the right place in our lives, never shrugging off or making light of anything He has said, and never daring to shake our fists in His face. The Bible says that to live this way is wisdom, and it is life.

Proverbs 9:10 – Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgement.
Proverbs 19:23 – Fear of the Lord leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm.
Job 28:28 – And this is what he says to all humanity: “the fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.

Walking in the Fear of the Lord

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Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgement. Proverbs 9:10

Why is it Important to Fear God?

Think of the feeling you get, down in the core of your being, when you stand on the highest cliff of a majestic mountain. Though the grandeur of it is enough to take your breath away, and though it brings a deep sense of wonder and happy peace, you would never dare to act recklessly from atop the pinnacle. You become acutely aware of your mortality, and dare not take it lightly.

In the same way, when we rightly see ourselves beneath the grandeur of God, a fear full of reverent wonder and awe is sure to follow.

On the other hand, if we fail to see Him for who He is, we will find ourselves in very serious danger. Just as it would be perilous for a blind man to scale that mountain trail, if we close our eyes to the reality of God’s glory, we are doomed to stumble into one disaster after another until we meet our certain demise.

Let’s consider a few of the reasons we’ve been given to fear God listed in the Bible. These will help us start to get that correct view of who He is. The corresponding verses can be clicked to read now, and can also all be found on the printable list mentioned above, which you can download by clicking the image below.

The Fear of the Lord Verses FREE Downloadable PDF

Reasons to fear God

Psalms 111
Praise the Lord! I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with His godly people.
How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in Him should ponder them. 
Everything He does reveals His glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. 
He causes us to remember His wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord! 
He gives food to those who fear Him, He always remembers His covenant. 
He has shown His great power to His people by giving them the lands of other nations.
All He does is just and good, and all His commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity. 
He has paid a full ransom for His people. He has guaranteed His covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name He has! 
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey His commandments will grow in wisdom.
Praise him forever!

When we rightly see ourselves beneath the grandeur of God, a fear full of reverent wonder and awe is sure to follow. Click To Tweet

What Does Walking in the Fear of the Lord Look Like?

As we’ve established, to fear the Lord is to hate evil, and those who fear the Lord will follow the right path (HIS path) for their lives. So to walk in the the fear of the Lord is simply a life-long commitment to seek God’s will for our lives and then to faithfully submit ourselves to it.

In other words, those who fear God, trust Him.

Psalm 115:11 – All you who fear the Lord, trust the Lord! He is your helper and your shield.

When we’re walking in the fear of the Lord, the thousands of decisions we face throughout our lifetime won’t worry us, because we will have confidence in the One who marks out the path before us. We’ll understand that even though His ways aren’t always easy, they are ALWAYS best.

Psalm 112:1 – Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying His commands.

How Do We Learn to Fear God?

The best way to appreciate the terrifying wonder of the mountaintop is to scale it. The gravity becomes a reality from the top! In the same way, experiencing the majesty of God first hand will lead us to see Him for who He is. We will place Him on the throne of our hearts when we stand in the shadow of His glory.

And because He is the wonderful Lord that He is, He has given us the only tools we need to see Him for who He is. These tools include creation itself, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit.

If we pour our energy into the study of God’s Word, asking the Holy Spirit to lead us into understanding and wisdom, and if we step out into the world with eyes to see and ears to hear, God WILL reveal Himself to us, and we WILL tremble before Him.

Psalm 2:11 – Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling.

Fear of the Lord Verses

Psalm 19:1-2, 7, 9 – The heavens declare the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known…
The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple… Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. (
Click to read whole chapter.)

Deuteronomy 31:12-13 – Call them all together – men, women, children, and foreigners living in your towns – so they may hear this Book of Instruction and learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully obey all the terms of these instructions.

Do this so that your children who have not known these instructions will hear them and will learn to fear the Lord your God. Do this as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

2 Chronicles 17:9-10 – They took copies of the Book of the Law of the Lord and traveled around through all the towns of Judah, teaching the people. Then the fear of the Lord fell over all the surrounding kingdoms so that none of them wanted to declare war on Jehoshaphat.

2 Corinthians 7:1 – Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

Philippians 2:12-13 – … Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.

How Walking in the Fear of the Lord Sets us Free from Fear

Alright, so hopefully we’re starting to understand what it looks like to fear God and why it’s important for our lives. But the final question we set out to answer in this post was, what is the connection between fearing God, and living a life free from all other fear?

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Proverbs 16:6 – Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil.

As Proverbs 16:6 stated above, unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. When we have learned to put God in His right place, we realize He is the only one capable of unfailing love and faithfulness. Atonement for sin can come only through Him. When we’re walking in the fear of the Lord, we stop trying to save ourselves and submit to His saving grace. We place ourselves under the covering of His perfect love.

1 John 4:17-18–And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgement, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.

I love this concept – when we are walking in the fear of the Lord we can face Him with confidence because we’ve been made perfect, like Jesus, through the perfect love of God. What else is there to be afraid of?

Psalm 27:1 – The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

Perfect love casts out fear! 1 john 4:18

God’s Promises Cast Out Fear

So it comes down to this: Fear of the Lord comes from seeing Him in all His glory, for who He really is, and then bowing in submission to Him. Fearing God leads us to His salvation, and when we are saved by grace our eternity is secure and we are covered by His perfect love. And finally, God has promised blessing upon blessing to all those who belong to Him. When we fear Him, and therefore trust Him, these promises expel all other fear.

Psalm 31:19-20 – How great is the goodness You have stored up for those who fear You. You lavish it on those who come to You for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of Your presence, safe from those who conspire against them…

Malachi 4:2 – But for you who fear my Name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.

Conclusion

If you’re still not sure you understand the fear of the Lord, try downloading the list of “Fear of the Lord Verses.” Read through them, study them, and ask God to help you by giving you wisdom and understanding.

Also, be sure to come back next week for the next part in this series where we will explore some Bible stories about overcoming fear. It is my prayer that as we continue to study what the Bible has to say about fear we’ll all be able to say with confidence,

Psalm 56:3-4 – But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. I praise God for what He has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?

For further study, check out these post from some fellow Christian bloggers on the Fear of the Lord:
Redemption’s Touch – God’s Strength – Whom Shall I Fear?
Flourishing Today – Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

*How about you? What have you learned about walking in the fear of the Lord? What still confuses you? Tell us what has God used to teach you about who He is? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


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***Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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14 Comments

  1. Fleda Bennie

    I love this quote – we come away understanding that it is seeing God for who He actually is and holding Him in such high esteem that we take VERY seriously what He has said, and therefore, live in obedience to it. Your explanation of the Fear of the Lord is clear and inviting. Loved it!

  2. Sarah- Inkblots of Hope

    Such a great topic to cover because it has so widely been misunderstood by believers and non-believers alike! You did a great job handling this tough topic, Cherith! I especially like the part where you compare the fear of the Lord to surveying land from the edge of the cliff. There is a sense of awe and grandeur and yes, you would never be foolish at the edge of the cliff! Such a great analogy for a tricky topic!

    • Cherith Peters

      Thank-you Sarah! I’ll be honest, I was pretty excited when God put the analogy in my head! I felt it made a very abstract concept a lot more tangible for me, and I pray it does the same for others as well!

  3. AnnMarie

    This concept confused me for awhile! I think it was because I was raised to see God as the “thunderbolt throwing, angry God”, so yes, I was afraid of Him! It wasn’t until I started studying the Bible that I understood His nature, and like you said, see Him for who He actually is, that I understood true fear of the Lord. Love this series!

    • Cherith Peters

      Oh, I totally understand that AnnMarrie! I think a lot of us were raised to view God in a very different way than He is actually portrayed in Scripture! He certainly CAN be the “thunderbolt throwing, angry God.” And a day is definitely coming when He is going to judge and destroy this world. So, yeah, He IS to be feared in a certain way. BUT, even though He has the capacity to be that God, He chooses to show us SO MUCH grace and love! You’re so right about getting to know Him changing everything! I am so thankful that He has revealed Himself to us!

  4. Alice Mills

    I began to really fear the Lord when I began to see the scope of the consequences of my actions. I am terrified of the death and destruction I can cause outside of obedience to Him. It isn’t the harm I can cause to myself, but the harm I can cause to others that keeps me close to Him. Thank goodness He can redeem what the enemy meant for evil and bring good out of it!

    • Cherith Peters

      What a great perspective, and wonderful point Alice! We certainly do have the capacity to ruin the lives of the people in our lives when we choose disobedience! Such a great thing to consider.

  5. Angie Cleary

    As Children of God, we are supposed to have a healthy reverential fear of the Lord to have a close personal relationship with Him. As always Cherith You do an wonderful job in your writing and explaining things in easy to understand knowledge. I also love you, like myself provide numerous verses in your posts to back up what you write in God’s word. Keep on giving Glorifying the Lord hun.

    • Cherith Peters

      Thanks Angie! I try very hard not to take liberties with God’s Word very often, and when I do, I try to make sure I have said that’s what I am doing. The Bible is such a gift, and I don’t ever want to take it for granted. I can’t imagine life without a God who has revealed Himself to us as our Lord has in His Word!

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