God has a plan for those who seek Him but the world has forgotten how to tremble with fear in God’s presence. If you were to stand in His presence and understand the full extent of His Majesty, you would see the wisdom of fearing God. All of His incredible attributes make Him the only one you should allow to guide your path with both respect and high esteem.
Kerry Knight said, “Oh, for a time when men would again tremble at the reading of God’s Word—when hearts would be cut and sins laid bare before His auspicious eyes. In a generation when the heart of man has ’grown dull,’ may we continue to point men to the Governor of all life and humbly bow before His rule.” (1)
Consider who God is and you will understand why the Bible repeatedly says we are to fear Him. This is the God who created the universe, the Earth, and everyone on it, including you. But, does God really expect you to fear Him, or is He only asking for allegiance and respect? Matthew 10:28 says it best: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Let the Bible Guide You
The importance of fearing God is evident in verse after verse, promising mercy, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, hatred of evil, confidence, the list goes on. All of these are wonderful gifts, the opposite of a word as strong as fear. However, fear can lead us to ponder and eventually understand these concepts. Without the fear of death, especially eternal death, why would you reach out to God in the first place?
Eternal life without God is the only thing you should fear. If you are a child of God, you have no reason to fear persecution, threats, collapse, catastrophe, illness, or failure (2). None of these things can take you away from God. With the knowledge that God controls all, you have nothing to fear but God Himself. Fear is not just healthy respect and reverence for His authority, but also an understanding that without God, you will spend eternity in Hell.
With this knowledge, the question becomes how can I follow God and show Him the reverence He deserves, instead of does God want me to fear Him. The Bible lays out how to follow God and why fear is necessary for the process.
What the Bible Says About Fearing God
The Bible mentions the importance of fearing the Lord over three hundred times. The Creator deserves awe and wonder. More importantly, He wants us to seek Him because His way leads to life everlasting. Scripture outlines to us what we stand to gain from fearing God:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
God rewards those who give Him proper authority. Those who seek Him will gain not just wisdom but also knowledge and understanding. As the Inventor of all things and an infallible nature, God is incapable of wrong. He knows all things (3), including the best direction for your life.
Scripture Commands Man to Follow God’s Rules
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
Not only are you called to fear God, but also to keep his commandments! Man seems set on following his own way or following other men. However, we must obey God rather than men (4). When you accept Christ as your savior and become a Child of God, you agree to live life according to His will. That means His commandments become your job.
Fearing God is a Choice
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13
Your obedience directly affects your path to salvation, and obedience comes from reverence to the Lord. Following God changes your focus away from man’s ways to His, but requires conscious decision and effort. If you keep your eyes on God and follow the road He has paved, your salvation is assured.
Fearing the Lord Helps You Appreciate All He Does
“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24
God gives you life not just on earth, but in heaven, as well. He has clothed you, fed you, helped you pay bills, and taken care of you in all ways. For all these reasons and more, He deserves your respect and admiration. When you serve God with all your heart, you find that your life gains new meaning, as your actions begin to facilitate His perfect will, and you begin sharing the joy with others. Remembering everything God has done for you will help you pray for your neighbor, and bring more people to God and His merciful ways.
The Next Step
Now that you understand the benefits of fearing the Lord, the next step is to learn about God’s word to build your understanding of His majesty. By enrolling in Bible courses online at Getting to Know Your Bible, you can step into the word, seek God, and establish a healthy fear leading to wisdom and knowledge.