The Bible mentions fearing God at least 300 times in different ways, such as “Fear the Lord” and “Fear God”. So, does that mean that we are to be afraid of Him, like we would be afraid of a ferocious tiger running toward us? Or does that mean that we just respect Him for Who He is?
Let’s look a little closer at “Fear” and try to get a better understanding of what it means when God’s Word tells us to Fear Him.
There are two different kinds of fear used in reference to fearing God. First there is the fear of those who do not know God, and they are afraid of Him because He has promised them punishment in eternal hell. And secondly, there is the fear of those who know Him as our Heavenly Father. The fear we should have of Him is not the same, but it is should be a fear of doing anything that is disobedient or displeasing to Him, because we love Him and want to please Him.
As Christians, we should have such a high regard and love for God that all we want to do is honor Him and obey Him. Everything that we say and everything that we do should be to please Him. And so, just as we don’t want to do things that would bring punishment from our fathers in this life, we also should not want to do anything that would cause our Heavenly Father to have to punish us.
Proverbs 1:7 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” We cannot even begin to truly get to know God until we have the proper fear of Him. Until we realize and acknowledge how awesome and amazing He is, and until we fear bringing shame or dishonor to Him by disobeying or displeasing Him.
Proverbs 8:13 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” When we have the proper fear of Him, we will hate anything that He does not like, and we know from God’s Word that He hates sin and evil! So, having a right fear of Him means that we do not want to be involved at all in anything that goes against His Word!
Proverbs 23:17 tells us, “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.” In this world, we are surrounded by those who do not fear God. Those who seem to be able to do whatever wrong they want, and nothing happens to them. And many times, they may seem to be having a great time doing what is wrong. However, if we have the proper fear of God, we will understand that one day they too will stand before Him and be judged for their sin, and if they do not know Him personally, they will be doomed to spend eternity in Hell. So, don’t be envious of those who are obviously walking contrary to God’s Word, but rather focus on Who God Is, with the knowledge that we too will one day give an account of our lives to Him.
The Bible talks a lot about fearing God, because God wants us to realize and understand just Who He is! He is almighty God, and He controls everything. He hates and despises evil and everything contrary to His Word. We should want to please and obey Him in everything that we do!
Proverbs 14:27 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.” Having the right fear of God, and seeking to have a right daily relationship with Him will bring peace, joy, and contentment to our lives, and will save us from a lot of trouble!
Moses summed it up quite well in Deuteronomy 10:12, when he told the nation of Israel – “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” That should be our goal in life – Fear God, Love God, and Serve God in everything we do!