What’s Happened To The Fear of God?

Several times in the Bible we are told that:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Psalm 111:10

And in Ecclesiastes the writer concludes that we should:

“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” Ecclesiastes 12:13

So fear of the Lord is seen as very important – but it can be difficult to know the meaning of it.

I have started reading a wonderful commentary on Proverbs by Charles Bridges. Spurgeon describes it as, “The best work on Proverbs” and even though I’m only a few pages in, I love it.

He writes a great definition of the fear of the Lord:

‘It is that affectionate reverence, by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to His Father’s law. His wrath is so bitter, and His love so sweet; that hence springs an earnest desire to please Him, and – because of the danger of coming short from his own weakness and temptations – a holy watchfulness and fear, “that he might not sin against Him.” This enters into every exercise of the mind, every object of life.’

I love how he gives two motives to a desire to please God – just as a child often will want to please his parents, partly from not wanting to be disciplined, but then also because their parents love them and they want to show their love back.
I think the fear of God is not understood that much, and we often miss the reverence for a holy and majestic God. We need to have that awe and reverence for God, while also realising His boundless love and mercy for us, making us want to live a life that pleases Him.

Linking up to Faith Filled Fridays

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7 Responses

  1. Cathy says:

    The balance of a holy and majestic God and a loving and merciful God is so perfect. I’m thankful He is both! What an awesome God we have!

    The commentary on Proverbs sounds wonderful. I’ll have to look into it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Gail Purath says:

    Thanks for these thoughtful insights, Rhoda. I agree that most of us lack a healthy fear of God. I think it’s partly due to our modern mindset that associates any type of punishment with ungodliness. I’m concerned about this lack of fear in myself and see it even more prevalent with each proceeding generation. I need to pray more about this. Gail (BibleLoveNotes)

  3. Thank you for sharing- I have also been examining the fear of the Lord, and considering how differently I would choose to live if that fear gripped me daily and/or as often as I feel and ponder God’s love.
    Thank you for the book recommendation too!

  4. Great post.
    I’ve been thinking about repentance a lot and I think the fervid the Lors plays Into it. Because without fear of the Lord, can there really be true repentance?

  5. F.... says:

    I recently commented a friend on how much I admired her “fear of the Lord,” and the response from non-believers was harsh. “Why would you believe in a God that wants you to fear?”

    Your blog answers this.

    Great post!!

  6. Rhoda says:

    Hi Cathy, we do have an awesome God!

    Gail, that is interesting what you said about associating punishment with ungodliness – I think that could well be true. I also think we probably don’t read the Old Testament as much as we should, where we can really see more of the character of God – His justice and holiness as well as His mercy and loving kindness.

    Hi Laura, I think you’re right that we may not have true repentance without the fear of the Lord. I think we are sometimes sorry for what we have done, without being sorry for sinning against God.

    Thank you myheartsmission and F…. for your comments 🙂

  7. Love that quote, thank you. “…Wrath so bitter, love so sweet.” I love the fact that we serve a God who hates iniquity and loves righteousness(Hebrews 1:9). SO glad it’s not the other way round!