Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Fear of the Lord - What Does It mean

 Tuesday, March 16, 2021 Some material taken from Fear This! 

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Matthew 10:28

Fear of the Lord - What Does It mean?

Fear is a negative word. It is not usually used in a positive way and some of us work very hard to keep it down to a dull roar in our lives. It can consume us and steal our life away from us if we aren’t diligent about not letting it control us. Then there are “healthy fears.” Healthy fears keep us safe - like the fear of what could/will happen if you touch a hot pan without an oven mitt on.  The "fear of the Lord" is a good "good fear."

The Hebrew and Greek words for “fear” and “reverence” vary.

  • In Hebrew, yirah (John 1:16, Ps 90:11), yare (Jeremiah 5:22, Mal 3:16) and pachad (Job 3:25a, Ps 119:120) mean reverent fear, terror, or dread, normally translated simply as fear. 
  • There are other words in Hebrew for mere respect, reverence, or honor, such as kabad (Ex 20:12).
  • In Greek, fear or terror is phobo (Matthew 28:4,1 Peter 2:17c), where reverence or honor is timao (1 Pet 2:17a/d).  With this distinction in both Hebrew and Greek, some still assert that "fear merely means reverence." As if God through His Spirit could not select the right word hundreds of times! Some would prefer to believe this than to understand that God really ought to be feared. 

Again thinking about the “fear of God is so hard for us because we don’t like to think of God that way. We want to believe He is kind and merciful, and He is. But for the most part, we still try to make “fearing God” something entirely different than what it is. And it is what it is. As with all of the word of God it cannot be twisted to fit what we want it to be. The honest truth about why we don’t want to think about the wrath of God is that we are afraid. We know what we do and that we are all sinners, and the weight of our sins sits heavy on us when we think about God knowing and revealing our sins. 

We get comfortable in our walk with God which can lead to apathy and that’s a dangerous thing. Anytime we become apathetic in any relationship it shows a lack of respect. Paul tells us that apathy toward our discipleship is failure to see God as Who He is… So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;  Philippians 2:12. It is easy to become complacent in our walk with God, not believing that He has no place in a life that ignores His holiness. Fearing God is about always being mindful of His Holiness, that cannot be partnered with sin.  A holy God cannot be a part of a life lived in sin. God does not want us to be afraid of Him, but He does want us to respect His holiness. He wants a relationship with us, and relationships take two. He wants us to live in an understanding of His love and kindness, while also in awe and reverence of His holiness. Living in intentional disobedience when we know and understand His Holiness is not living with fear of the Lord. With awe, reverence, and a little bit of trembling, we can respect who He is and all He is.

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