Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fear of the Lord

Sir 2:15  Those who fear the Lord will not disobey his words, and those who love him will keep his ways.  Those who fear the Lord will seek his approval, and those who love him will be filled with the law. Those who fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and will humble themselves before him. 

I'd like to explore the idea of fearing the Lord.  When I think of fear, I think more of being afraid as a bad thing.  It isn't pleasant.  But this isn't the terror associated with a snake. It can be terrifying, as we've done nothing to end up anywhere but Hell.  We should be fearful of offending our Heavenly Father.  This is out of love for Him, and all He has provided for us.

Below are some things I found when I searched for "fear the Lord" or "fear of the Lord."  The best part is at the end, because I found out this is something we can learn!

Fear of the Lord is considered to be one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Isa 11:2-3  And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord, He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears. (DRB)

The fear of the Lord is commanded several times in the Old Testament:
  • Deu 6:13  You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him, and swear by his name.
  • Deu 6:24  And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as at this day.
  • Deu 10:12  "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,
  • Deu 10:20  You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him and cleave to him, and by his name you shall swear.
  • Jos 24:14  "Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.
  • 1Sa 12:24  Only fear the LORD, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you.
  • Psa 33:8  Let all the earth fear the LORD, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!  
  • Psa 34:9  O fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no want!
  • Pro 23:17  Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.
  • Pro 24:21-22  My son, fear the LORD and the king, and do not disobey either of them;  for disaster from them will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both? 
  • Sir 1:28  Do not disobey the fear of the Lord; do not approach him with a divided mind.  
  • Sir 7:29  With all your soul fear the Lord, and honor his priests.  
The idea is not dropped in the New Testament, however, as it is also referenced.
  • Act 9:31  So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied.
  • 2Co 5:11  Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men; but what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 
It can call people to repentance and belief:
  • 1Sa 12:17-18  Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the LORD, that he may send thunder and rain; and you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking for yourselves a king." So Samuel called upon the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. 
  • Exo 14:31  And Israel saw the great work which the LORD did against the Egyptians, and the people feared the LORD; and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.  
Those who fear the Lord will stay away from evil:
  • Pro 8:13  The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. 
  • Pro 16:6  By loyalty and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil. 
  • Pro 14:27  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death. 
  • Pro 3:5-8  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Wisdom and fear of the Lord are tied together:
  • Psa 111:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who practice it. His praise endures for ever!  
  • Pro 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.  
  • Pro 1:28-31  Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.  Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices.  (Wisdom abandons those with no fear of the Lord)
  • Pro 9:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.  
  • Pro 15:33  The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility goes before honor.  
  • Job 28:28  And he said to man, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.'" 
  • Sir 1:14-20  To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; she is created with the faithful in the womb. She made among men an eternal foundation, and among their descendants she will be trusted. To fear the Lord is wisdom's full measure; she satisfies men with her fruits; she fills their whole house with desirable goods, and their storehouses with her produce. The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom, making peace and perfect health to flourish. He saw her and apportioned her; he rained down knowledge and discerning comprehension, and he exalted the glory of those who held her fast. To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom, and her branches are long life.
  • Sir 1:27  For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and instruction, and he delights in fidelity and meekness. 
  • Sir 19:20  All wisdom is the fear of the Lord, and in all wisdom there is the fulfilment of the law. 
My favorite part in studying this though was the discovery that fear of the Lord is learned.
  • Psa 34:11  Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
  • Pro 2:1-5  My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
  • Deu 6:1-2  Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it; that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged.
  • Deu 17:18-19  And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, from that which is in charge of the Levitical priests; and it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them;
  • Deu 31:12-13  Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land which you are going over the Jordan to possess.
I think it is rather exciting there's something I can do to help learn a gift of the Holy Spirit!

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